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* Military only at strategic locations in Sri Lanka's North, Defense Secretary says
Sun, Jan 26, 2014, 10:29 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Jan 26, Colombo: A lot of military camps that were in North during the war have been removed now and only the ones essential to national security remain at strategic locations, Sri Lanka's Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said.

"A lot of military camps have been withdrawn, and the only ones that remain are those that in strategic locations essential to national security," Defense Secretary said.

Addressing a function in Colombo Saturday (January 25), the Defense Secretary further explained that maintenance of law and order in the North is handled entirely by the Police and new Police stations have been opened throughout the North and East obtaining the service of Tamil speaking policemen.

Speaking of the progress country made after the government crushed the terrorists nearly five years ago, Rajapaksa said the country is now gradually recapturing all the opportunities it lost during the years when terrorism prevailed.

He noted that however, despite the tremendous progress a section of the international community still wants to try and force its own agenda on Sri Lanka

"Forming their opinions on the basis of one-sided discussions with the rump of the LTTE and other radicalized sections of the Tamil Diaspora, they ignore the significant progress we have made in the last few years," the Defense Secretary said referring to the efforts at international level to initiate investigations into Sri Lanka's war crime allegations.

"Using lofty terms such as Good Governance, Accountability, and Impunity, and through various dubious indices that supposedly monitor compliance to these concepts, they seek to apply value judgments on Sri Lanka," Rajapaksa added.

Speaking on efforts by some to tarnish the image of the government, Rajapaksa said that, "If they are genuine about resolving issues, they should engage with the Government through domestic forums instead of trying to internationalize our internal affairs."

He said it is "disheartening" to see that some diplomats in Sri Lanka seek to interfere in the internal matters.

Speaking of the post-conflict progress, Defense Secretary remarked that the Government has done a great deal of work to restore the normalcy and stability in the country.

With the lifting of all restrictions in the conflict-affected North and East, many industries have been revived and the education has been elevated, the Defense Secretary noted.

He said that nearly 15,000 teachers have been employed to teach just over 250,000 students at schools in the North and East and pointed out that the Northern Province recorded the highest pass rate in the island, of 63.3% at the 2013 GCE A/L while the Eastern Province was third highest in the country, with a pass rate of 60.1%.

Rajapaksa explained that nearly all of the surrendered or arrested LTTE cadres have been rehabilitated and reintegrated into the society and only a few who were involved in hardcore terrorist activities are being prosecuted for their crimes.

Explaining on the establishment of LLRC and its progress Secretary Defense said that, a major portion of LLRC recommendations has already been implemented while others are presently being executed in order to "foster reconciliation and ensure lasting peace".

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