Rajapaksa vows to fight external forces for peace

Colombo, May 19 (IANS) Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa Saturday renewed his pledge to fight all “external elements” seeking to “disrupt” the country’s peace.

Speaking on the fourth anniversary celebration of winning the three-decade war against Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (LTTE), Rajapaksa was alluding to foreign countries, led by the US, Xinhua reported.

Some countries have been critical of Sri Lanka’s human rights record and called for an independent investigation into the alleged war crimes committed during the last stage of the war in the country.

President Rajapaksa insisted that these were attempts to undermine the peace that has been won and the reconciliation that is already taking place.

“When the war ended, we freed most of the top officials of the LTTE with very minor punishments despite the many atrocities their organisation committed.

” We rehabilitated over 11,000 cadres, resettled thousands of displaced people and de-mined vast tracts of land,” he said.

Addressing the nation during the ceremony, Rajapaksa harshly criticised the Tamil diaspora, whom he saw as “aiding and abetting” the international community to criticise Sri Lanka.

“The Tamil people don’t need enemies as long as these people are there,” he added, clearly alluding to the pro-LTTE Tamil diaspora organisations such as the Global Tamil Forum that have been lobbying internationally on allegations of war crimes committed in Sri Lanka during the last phase of the war.

These groups have supported countries such as Canada and Britain to vote against Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) that adopted two resolutions on Sri Lanka in 2012 and 2013.

The president emphasised that he would not allow any such group or country to dictate Sri Lanka.

The Sri Lankan forces crushed LTTE in May 2009. Since then, the government holds a massive military parade in Colombo annually to mark that victory.

This year’s celebrations featured contingents from army, navy, air force, police and home guard. Families of soldiers, who died during the war, were presented medals after the president’s speech.

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