President’s address for the Meeting of Ambassadors, High Commissioners and Diplomatic Representatives

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Your Excellencies,

I thank you for attending this meeting, despite short notice. I value your presence here as most distinguished representatives of your countries in Sri Lanka as my government considers cordial, friendly relations and close cooperation with all nation is the hallmark of our foreign policy.

The people of Sri Lanka gave me a mandate at the Presidential election held last month to take Sri Lanka on the path to progress as an awakened nation that values principles of democracy, rule of law, equal opportunities for all.

We have, earnestly commenced the implementation of an ambitious and challenging agenda for the first one hundred days and I am glad to say that some of them have already been accomplished in the last few weeks.

We are eager to usher in a new political culture in Sri Lanka for the all communities, religions as well as political parties with divergent views could live in friendship, harmony and cooperation. We want the international community to take a new look at the new Sri Lanka. My appeal to Your Excellencies is to convey the message to your respectful governments, the need for time and space to carry forward our programmes for reconciliation.

We give top priority to cementing relations between the communities, the followers of different faiths, those who speak different languages. We have taken steps to expel misunderstandings, foster public trust and overcome post war challenges.

Our desire is to usher in a new political culture in Sri Lanka. Most of you are familiar with such a healthy culture of reconciliation different political parties exist. We will make the changes required in the political, economic, social and cultural norms that prevail in our country. In keeping with the mandate given by the people for a clear and definite change, at a time when political violence had raised its head and there was absence of the Rule of Law, what is essential for us today is politics and governance that will ensure co-existence and reconciliation towards national understanding to build a humanitarian society.

The aim of our government is the building of the widest friendships internationally that recognizes and respects our individuality as a nation. It remains our policy to strictly adhere to the middle path, extend friendship to all nations, and strengthen friendship and cooperation with international organizations, multi-national bodies and regional institutions to achieve greater mutual understanding. It is the expectation of our Government to obtain the assistance of friendly nations and international organizations to advance the development of our country and assure the future success of our people.

We believe that our efforts will help narrow the gap in wealth, now existing among different sections of our society and contribute towards the creation of a more equitable society.

We plan to absorb new technological tools and utilize modern technology in the sectors such as education, health and rapid industrialization. We need the modern technology to enhance our agriculture, which is the backbone of our economy. In these areas we seek your cooperation and assistance.

As evident from our election manifesto we are taking clear and resolute steps to firmly establish democracy and good governance, the Rule of Law, and a truly meaningful parliamentary system; to establish a long lasting and stable structure of good governance in keeping with the mandate given by the people.

The country has successfully eradicated terrorism six years ago. Although our sovereignty and territorial integrity was retained by this, the need to proceed further towards national unity through genuine amity and friendship among people is a task that needs achievement. Just as the land was united, it remains necessary to join all Sri Lankans with the bonds of unity.

Therefore, it is now the time to move away from the mutual heaping of blame on each other, and instead, in the cause of humanity, respect one and other for the progress of the nation.

We are keen to promote harmony among the people so that their energies could be diverted towards promoting development, peace, democracy and in protecting and promoting core values such as tolerance and understanding, including respect for other cultures.

We believe that a nation cannot afford to sit back and relax until the economic freedom is achieved. Hence our central focus will be on the eradication of extreme poverty and re-affirmed commitment to sustainable development

Once again I seek the support and cooperation of all at this crucial juncture when Sri Lanka remains committed to its objective of pursuing the processes of reconciliation, and nation building.