September 12, 2012
Reposted from the Colombo Page
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa Tuesday invited the Commonwealth members to see for themselves the post-war development in the country.
The President welcoming the delegates of 54 Commonwealth nations declared open the 58th Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Conference at the Nelum Pokuna Mahinda Rajapakse Theatre today.
Addressing the delegates the President said their presence in the country gives them a good opportunity to see for themselves the progress of democracy in Sri Lanka, after the major threat the country faced under terrorism.
He added that the conference is extremely important to show the international community the manner democracy has been established in the country after defeating terrorism.
He urged the delegates to make use of this opportunity to learn of the real Sri Lanka, in its post-conflict era, when the highest priority is given to nation building through reconciliation.
The President criticized the Sri Lankans, who have been settled in other countries and claim to speak for the country or a section of the country’s people, for spreading misinformation and slandering the country.
“These people while slandering the country from their shelters abroad,do not bother to contribute to the reconciliation and development taking place here. But worse, they do not even contribute to the progress of the people whose cause they claim to champion, from their activities abroad,” the President said.
“You can now see the truth and return to your countries with a deeper and richer understanding of Sri Lanka,” the President told the participants.
Noting that among the first things done after the defeat of terrorism, first in the Eastern Province, and later in the entire country, was to quickly hold local government, provincial and national elections to obtain a proper mandate from the people, the President said the Northern Provincial Council election will be held next year.
Speaking of reconciliation after the end of the war, the President asserted that the recommendations of the LLRC are already being implemented, according to a well worked out Plan of Action that has been presented to the nation and the world.
President Rajapakse also appreciated the measures being taken by the CPA to establish democracy in the member states and to conduct studies on parliamentary affairs.
He especially acknowledged the work of the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians to increase female representations in Parliament recognizing the importance of gender considerations in all activities of the CPA.
Pointing out that Sri Lanka achieved 6 to 7 percent economic growth even during the battle against terrorism, the President emphasized that it is government’s strong belief that there cannot be peace without development while the reverse is also true.
The Sri Lankan government says holding such a large event since the country hosted the Non-Aligners Movement summit in 1976 is indicative of the new climate of peace and normalcy prevailing in the country and is a sign of the international confidence in Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka is scheduled to host the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) next year.
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