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‘Reconciliation priority for Sri Lanka gov’t’

4 February 2015 15:12

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Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena has pledged national reconciliation and the resolution of foreign policy problems.

Sirisena vowed on Wednesday in Sri Lanka’s 67th anniversary of independence that, “Reconciliation will be a priority for my government.”

Stressing the importance of a new political culture, Sirisena added, “We have to address our foreign policy problems. We will follow the UN Charter and abide by the UN values.”

The new president and his ministers also promised not to let their country “be traumatized by the shedding of blood of innocents.”

Sri Lanka’s main minority political party, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), has also taken part in the national day celebrations after decades.

TNA lawmaker M. A. Sumanthiran explained that since “There is a change of attitude and approach of the new government…. we want to reciprocate.”

Sri Lanka’s separatist war by the Tamils which began in 1972 lasted until 2009. The United Nations has estimated that at least 100,000 people were killed during the fighting. The war ended six years ago, “But, since then, we have failed to heal the wounds of war and win the hearts of all our people,” said Sirisena.

He further added that the aim is to “unite the [Tamil] north and the [Sinhala] south,” referring to the Tamil-dominated northern province which has been grappling with an economic embargo and travel restrictions even after the war ended.

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