National reconciliation is priority for my govt: Sirisena

National reconciliation is priority for my govt: Sirisena

Achieving national reconciliation with the minority Tamil community is a priority for the new Sri Lankan government, President Maithripala Sirisena said today, underlining that winning hearts and minds is more important than reconstructing war-devastated buildings.

Sirisena was addressing the 'War Hero's Day' celebrations at the southern coastal town of Matara as the country marked the 6th anniversary of the end of the conflict with the LTTE that killed over 40,000 people.

"National reconciliation build on mutual trust, confidence and respect of all communities is my government's policy," Sirisena said as he witnessed a colourful military parade with the participation of over 7,000 troops.

Sirisena said Sri Lanka could not be happy with the post- conflict achievements as his predecessor Mahinda Rajapaksa's government had failed to win over the Tamil minority.

"Winning hearts and minds is more important than building the war-devastated buildings," he said.

Attending a commemoration yesterday, Rajapaksa accused the Sirisena government of forgetting the troops who were responsible for the crushing the LTTE's 30-year campaign.

"Please take revenge from me, put me in jail, but do not forget the heroic forces," Rajapaksa, who is currently trying to make a political comeback, told the gathering.

Rajapaksa is looked upon as a hardline Sinhalese nationalist who oversaw the defeat of the LTTE.

Sirisena, however, pledged the government's support for the military.

"I assure you that I will make every effort to ensure national security," Sirisena said.
"I have the fullest confidence in you (the troops) to safeguard the security of our motherland," he said, accusing his rivals of spreading "false propaganda" against the government.

He said he would not allow the LTTE to rise its head again.
"I will not allow the brutal LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) terrorism to raise its head ever again."

Feared Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) leader Velupillai Prabhakaran's body was found on May 19, marking the end to the terror outfit's nearly three decades-long fight to carve out a separate Tamil homeland.

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