Sri Lanka fully supports United Nations’ program to stop Gaza conflict and establish peace – President

Sri Lanka President Ranil Wickremesinghe

Sri Lanka President Ranil Wickremesinghe emphasized that the policy of the present government is to treat every religion equally and provide equal rights to every citizen.

He further stressed that he does not approve of making the Palestinian people victims in the Israel-Hamas conflict. He pledged full support to the program of the UN Secretary-General to stop the conflicts and establish peace in the region, the President’s Media Division (PMD) said in a statement.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe conveyed these thoughts while addressing the National Milad-Un Nabi Celebration held at Musali National School Stadium in Mannar on Sunday morning (October 22). The event was jointly organized by the Ministry of Buddha Sasana, Religious and Cultural Affairs, and the Department of Muslim Religious and Cultural Affairs.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe, upon arriving at the event site, received a warm welcome from prominent Muslim cultural figures. The keynote address of the event was delivered by Maulavi Ashek B. Nihamatullah.

A commemorative stamp and souvenir cover were issued for the National Milad-Un Nabi celebration 2023 and were presented to the President by the Postmaster General, Mr. Ruwan Palitha Satkumara.

The President was also presented with a special commemorative issue and the book “History of Mannar District,” issued on the occasion of the National Milad-Un Nabi celebration.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe also awarded prizes and certificates to the students who won the design competitions held in conjunction with the Holy Prophet’s birthday celebration.

Subsequently, honorary awards were presented to the Maulavis who had worked in mosques for an extended period, and a souvenir gift was also presented posthumously to Mr. Hasbullah, a professor who had rendered exceptional service to the area. The President presented souvenir gifts to the Chairman of the Puttalam Mosque Association and the Chairman of the Puttalam Jameitul Ulama Organization. A souvenir gift was also presented to the President on behalf of the Department of Muslim Religion and Culture, it added.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe further said:

“Today, we are celebrating the birthday of the Holy Prophet here. This is the second religious celebration I have attended in Mannar District. A few months ago, we attended an event at the Sacred Madu Church.

I would like to express my gratitude to the Ministry of Religious and Cultural Affairs and the Department of Muslim Religious and Cultural Affairs for organizing this event in a grand manner.

In addition to this event, development programs such as the opening of a new school building and housing projects have been implemented here. Mannar District is in need of development, especially considering the damage it suffered during the war. Therefore, we are implementing programs for the resettlement of displaced persons in these areas.

We are also continuing discussions about the construction of roads, especially in Mannar District, as reminded by the minister in Parliament. Education is another area that needs development, not only in Mannar city but also in other parts of the district.

Furthermore, we have planned a substantial development program in this area. Arrangements are already being made to establish a sea transport service between India and Mannar, starting from Kankasanthurai and later in Thalaimannar. India and Sri Lanka are also planning to develop the electricity system together, which will benefit Mannar.

This is just the beginning of Mannar’s development. This area has a high potential for a green economy and green energy, particularly with the available solar power. From Puttalam to Mannar through the Jaffna Peninsula to Mullaitivu, there is a great opportunity for this, and we aim to make Pooneryn the centre of this development.
Additionally, we aspire to make Mannar a tourist hub, and as the fishing industry develops, Mannar will experience a new economic boost.

Today, we gather here to remember the Holy Prophet. The same doctrine preached by Nabi Nayaka is what exists in Sri Lanka today. Therefore, we consider this celebration a national one.

Our policy is to treat all religions equally, and our aim is to provide equal rights to everyone. The Muslim community here faces certain challenges, and I would like to state that the government is actively working to address them. We inherited a country in financial distress, and we are diligently working to recover from that situation.

The Islamic doctrine of the Prophet has spread from Morocco to Indonesia, across Africa and Europe. When the Prophet preached this doctrine, people of different faiths coexisted in the region without issues. However, today, there are more significant problems, especially the Palestinian issue, which was recently debated in Parliament. We heard that 20 food trucks have been sent to Gaza, but we must question whether this is enough.

The Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip are trapped due to the Israeli-Hamas conflict, and we cannot ignore their suffering. We call for the necessary food to be provided to these people, not only from Israel but also from Egypt, along with access to clean water.

While the Israel-Hamas conflict continues, it’s essential to ensure that ordinary Palestinian people are not victimized in this struggle. Arab countries, including Egypt, are taking steps to address this issue, and other nations are showing their support. We, too, are committed to giving our full support to the activities of the Secretary-General of the United Nations Council in resolving this matter and bringing peace to the region. There is a genuine need for a Palestinian government.”

Minister of State and Chairman of Mannar and Mullaitivu Development Committee Mr. Kader Masthan

“We consider the President’s visit to Mannar to participate in the National Milad-Un Nabi Celebration as an honor to our people. After the end of the war, this area did not develop. Due to the resettlement activities being carried out without proper planning, a situation has arisen where it is impossible to acquire land for development and investment in that area.

It should be mentioned that the expectations of the people of my district will be fulfilled under your leadership. You took the responsibility of a country whose economy was in collapse and worked to rebuild it. As a president who understands the plight of the people well, we hope that you will provide a solution to the problem of resettlement in these areas.”

This event was graced by the presence of the Minister of Buddha Sasana, Religious and Cultural Affairs, Vidura Wickramanayake; the Governor of the Northern Province, Mrs. P.S.M. Charles; Member of Parliament K. Thilipan; the Secretary to the Buddha Sasana, Religious and Cultural Affairs Ministry, Mr. Somaratne Vidanapathirana; the Director of the Department of Muslim Religious and Cultural Affairs, A.M. Faisal; religious leaders; defence chiefs; students; local residents; and a large number of people, according to the PMD.