COLOMBO, Sri Lanka: The Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has pledged to pursue national reconciliation in the country which witnessed a bloody civil war from 1983 to 2009.
The 63-year-old Sirisena became the country’s seventh president last month after he won the January 8 presidential election against the two-time President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
“Reconciliation will be a priority for my government,” Sirisena said in Colombo in an address to the nation to mark Sri Lanka’s 67th anniversary of independence on Wednesday.
The president said that Tamils in the north and the Sinhala in the south would be united.
“We must unite the (Tamil) north and the (Sinhala) south,” Sirisena said.
Sirisena also pledged the resolution of foreign policy problems. “We have to address our foreign policy problems. We will follow the UN Charter and abide by the UN values.”
The Sri Lankan new president and his ministers also promised not to let their country “be traumatized by the shedding of blood of innocents.”
The country’s main minority political party the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) also took part in the national day celebrations for the first time in decades.
“There is a change of attitude and approach of the new government…. we want to reciprocate,” the TNA lawmaker M. A. Sumanthiran said.