‘We will present the world with our achievements on bringing normalcy and peace to Sri Lanka, bring to light the factual position about this country and thereby expose the falsity of the controversial Darusman Report, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said yesterday. Speaking to local newspaper Editors at a breakfast meeting at Temple Trees the President said ‘no dangerous situation would arise for Sri Lanka’ as a result of the Report and issues connected to it.
In response to a question the President said that the State was interested in learning the truth.
The Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission, he explained, was travelling the length and breadth of the countryside for this purpose and that the government had an abiding interest in communal harmony. Anybody could go before the LLRC and make submissions to it, he said. External Affairs Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris who was associated with the President at the meeting, along with Ministers Basil Rajapaksa, Keheliya Rambukwella, Nimal Siripala de Silva, Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga and other officials, explained that no response will be made to the Report, as such, by the government, but a clear distinction will be made between the Darusman Panel and the UN.
‘We will, however, keep the UN Secretary General updated on our achievements on the ground with regard humanitarian work and other forms of assistance to the conflict-affected. We will incorporate all of this in a letter to the UNSG’, he said.
Answering a question the External Affairs Minister said that the government would not be responding to the Report since it did not accept the validity of the Report.
He said however, that the international community would be enlightened on the work of the LLRC. He said that there would be no question of the government side being called to account as a result of allegations in the Report, because ‘we have done no wrong’. There was also no need for the government side to put forward any legal arguments. However, all that the government has done by way of humanitarian work during and after the humanitarian operation would be highlighted to the world community.
Prof. Peiris explained that all humanitarian conventions were observed by the State with regard to looking after the conflict-affected. The CCHA, which engaged in such work, had in its fold members of the State as well as the US ambassador, he said.
The President explained that despite the numerous difficulties faced by the government during the humanitarian operation, the people of the North were provided all their essentials, such as, food and clothing. Some of these provisions were even found in the bunkers of the enemy, he pointed out. Some of the issues raised by the media and the responses of the President:
International relations: An Indian delegation is not coming here presently. India has related to us most cordially. After 2005 no misunderstandings have occurred with India.
We will always relate cordially to India. We will enlighten the international community about our position on the Report. We will give the correct picture. Russia and China, we believe, will be with us in this situation arising from the Report.
The humanitarian operation and connected issues: We impressed on the Army that they were fighting our very own people. They were directed not to harm civilians. Our law enforcers were thoroughly educated on human rights. That was why these actions were called humanitarian operations. This is because we were fighting our people. Even Tamil civilians called on us to save them from the Tigers. Of the TNA MPs, only Kanageratnam was in the camps. He saw 600 civilians being killed by the Tigers. On the other hand, our instructions were ‘zero casualties’. Most Tamil civilians came over to us voluntarily. Thirteen thousand LTTE cadres surrendered.
Victimization of journalists: Can we file cases without evidence? Those who are affected must come forward and give evidence. This is not happening. We have no intention of harming the media. Salary grievances of university teachers: I am ready to talk to these personnel. But if they are politically motivated, nothing can be done. The present salary demand is unrealistic. These demands must be made with a sense of responsibility. There is a procedure to be followed in these matters. They must first meet the Minister concerned with the demand.
Private pension scheme: There is always opposition at the beginning to schemes of this kind. But this scheme will bring big benefits to the whole of the private sector. Even journalists will be covered. There will also be similar schemes for the self-employed and migrant workers. A common fund of this kind is ideal because private welfare schemes always collapse. Judiciary: We do not intend to bring in a 19th Amendment to the Constitution.
Courtesy: Daily News