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* 'Sri Lanka has institutions and the will to solve own problems'
Fri, Dec 27, 2013, 12:46 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Dec 27, Colombo: Sri Lanka asserting that it has institutions and will to solve its own problems and guarantee the rights of all its citizens, asked the international community to give a 'vote of trust'.

External Affairs Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris in an interview with Prensa Latina, the official state news agency of Cuba, said Sri Lanka is fully capable of undertaking the tasks set out by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC).

"We have the institutions, the resources and the will to take forward the rebuilding of our country, continue strengthening our economy, and ensuring a decent life for all, no matter their religion, ethnicity or political affiliation," Peiris said in the interview.

He pointed out that it has only been a little more than four years since the war against the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) ended and noted that the signs of progress are visible everywhere in the island.

Prof. Peiris explained that amid the complex situation left by a conflict of almost 30 years, the Sri Lankan government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa has had to establish priorities among the almost 300 tasks recommended by the LLRC.

Mine clearing in the north is complete and more than 11,000 former LTTE members have been rehabilitated and reinserted in society, with equal rights, Peiris noted.

By virtue of an intense investment program and the recovery of productive activities such as fishing and agriculture, the economy of the Northern Province (where the population is mostly Tamil) grew by 22 percent in recent years, compared to a national rate of 7 percent, he added further.

The Minister noted that the reconstruction of homes, highways, schools, hospitals and other social projects and the resettlement of more than 400,000 people displaced by the war, along with the search for thousands of missing people are other tasks requiring more time but showing progress.

Speaking of the two resolutions sponsored by the United States and adopted by the United Nations Human Rights Council in March 2012 and March 2013 that urged Sri Lanka to expedite the implementation of the LLRC recommendations, the Minister told Prensa Latina that international pressure to achieve the tasks recommended by the LLRC is not productive.

"The threatening and the international pressure are not the path for us to go forward," the Minister said.

"The international community should give us a vote of trust, because the Sri Lankan government has the greatest will to do things right and is dedicating great resources to reconciliation and reconstruction. We have the institutions to solve our problems," said Prof. Peiris.

It is a mistake to apply selective and subjective standards to Sri Lanka. The UNHRC must consider the facts, by their own merits," he added.

He explained that some governments are against the independent path taken by Sri Lanka, and together with the former LTTE members living abroad with a lot of financial resources, have started a campaign to discredit the government.

Sri Lanka expects the western governments will force the UNHRC to adopt a resolution calling for an independent international investigation into the war crime allegations against the country at the March 2014 session in Geneva where the UN Human Rights High Commissioner Navanetham Pillay will present the formal report on her August 2013 visit to Sri Lanka.

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