Sri Lanka’s future and well-being lie on good international relations with all countries and reconciliation with Tamils based on good governance, President Maithripala Sirisena has said.
“I believe strongly that this country’s future lies in reconciliation based on good governance policies,” he said here last night in a foreign policy lecture.
Sirisena said that he has been able to improve foreign relations in his tenure.
“While there was praise, some of our political opponents have been severely critical of our foreign policy. They charge that I am trying to betray the nation by allowing foreign countries to invade and grab this country,” Sirisena said, adding that no government has ever pressurised his government on anything.
“There is one common theme in all our interactions and engagements that Sri Lanka must establish internal democracy, human rights civil and media freedoms,” Sirisena said.
Sirisena, in contrast to his predecessor Mahinda Rajapaksa, has followed a policy of close engagement with all nations.
The Rajapaksa administration was criticised by the international community for its human rights record with resolutions in the UN Human Rights Council for three successive years since 2012. The Rajapaksa government dubbed the resolutions as interference in Sri Lanka’s sovereignty.
The UN has estimated that 40,000 people died, many of them civilians, during the civil war that lasted nearly three decades.
The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) battled Sri Lankan forces for a separate Tamil homeland. A brutal military crackdown ended the 37-year conflict in 2009. Rights groups claim government forces killed nearly 40,000 civilians in the final months of the brutal ethnic conflict.