President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday told a South Asian forum in Colombo that Sri Lanka is now consolidating the hard won peace a move which he indicated was being stifled by skewed allegations of accountability.
“We now stand proud as a nation that has eradicated terrorism from our country. In doing so, we have made South Asia too, safer from terrorism. We have achieved this with much less of the assets, and none of the deceit and duplicity of those who have been waging a War on Terror for more than a decade; those with much more economic and fire power than we had and many more allies than we ever had, but are still caught up in the killing fields made by un-manned drones and other lethal devices that attack civilians, too,” the President said during his remarks at the inauguration of the three-day Rotary South Asia Conference on Development and Cooperation in Colombo.
“It is regretted that the very individuals and institutions that point their fingers at us for our defeat of terror seem to be unaware of the truth about our prolonged battle against terrorism, and the very nature of those terrorists,” the President added.
He said that Sri Lanka is now being warned that the same terrorist groups are rapidly raising funds for their bloody cause. “Many of those who fault us today are harbouring those who funded terror in our country, and still raise funds for this brutal cause. They were also glad to give safe haven to the very theoreticians of terror in Sri Lanka. Have they no concern for the truth about Sri Lanka’s agony and the humanitarian actions that under-scored our battle against terror? Have they no interest in the truth?” queried the President using the South Asian forum as a platform to respond to allegations from the West.
“We now seek to consolidate the peace we have won so hard, and to bring much needed relief to civilians; to parents, children and elders who were forced to carry arms for terrorists. Relief to mothers whose children were made child soldiers, to women who were made to be suicide bombers, and rehabilitation to those who fought with the forces of terror. Yet, there are loud voices raised against us on accountability. To most of these voices, accountability is only a verbal apology for civilian deaths that are dismissed as collateral damage in heavy bombings. Are their actions fair by all concerned,” President Rajapaksa once again queried during his address.