|Wednesday, 5 February 2003|
President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga yesterday congratulated Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe for the positive results achieved in the peace process.
She re-emphasised however, that core issues be taken up with seriousness to achieve lasting peace. Addressing the nation at the country's 55th Independence Day ceremony from Independence Square, the President also re-iterated her call to the government that all stake holders including parliament and the people be kept informed on the policy framework it wishes to employ to achieve peace.
"As President and leader of this Nation, my most sincere wish is that those presently entrusted with the reigns of Government will have the vision, the courage and commitment to achieve peace and prosperity for Sri Lanka, while consolidating on the success and correcting past mistakes", the President said.
She said her first government undertook an immense amount of work to prepare the stage for peace and was not daunted by the sheer immensity of the task before it. "The facility with which the present government was able to move along the path of peace, is the best witness to our positive achievements in this sphere, during eight difficult years", she said.
While emphasising that the PA government achieved much of its targets in terms restoration of democracy, economic rebuilding, elimination of corruption and the sphere of human rights, the President said:"We must now ensure that we halt the slippages of our achievements". The President asserted that she would exercise her constitutional authority with all her strength to guarantee and safeguard the sovereignty and unity of the Sri Lankan state. She also undertook the task "of rekindling the flickering flames of democracy and guarantee human rights in our motherland".
In this endeavour she had no doubt of the fullest support of the present government, people's representatives as well as that of the judiciary, the Police, the Armed Forces, the Public Service and the private sector, the President asserted.
In her half an hour address the President also spoke of her first government's Vision of Development in 1994 which she said laid accent on vital areas such as dealing with the unemployment problem, poverty reduction and the ensuring fruits of development reached the vast majority of the people. It also envisaged a modernisation programme of Port, Airport services, telecommunication and of information technology. Emphasising that effective implementation of the programme needs to be undertaken urgently the President observed that "all this pre supposed an effective and constructive cohabitation between the partners of Government".
The President however noted that this would require maturity in all those called upon to cohabit" as well as a Vision for governance that could rise above the muddied waters of hatred,bickering and petty personal interests that lead to corruption and inefficiency."
Produced by Lake House