Foreign Minister tells BBC:
Democracy in North after defeating fascism
LONDON: Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama told British
Broadcasting Corporation’s Asia Today television programme in London
that projecting on the past achievements, starting from the flushing out
of terrorists from the Eastern Province and re-establishing democratic
institutions there, the Government could now be optimistic of cleaning
the North also of the terrorists and achieving their paramount goal of
establishing a pluralistic society by defeating Fascism.
Minister Rohitha Bogollagama
Replying to the presenter of the programme, Nick Gowing, the Foreign
Minister said: “We want to reach the young people who have been
captivated and also been subjugated by the Tigers and tell them that
time has come for them to leave.” Many have responded, he enthused.
“I think the recent developments would have shown you how much of a
progress we have made, both in the Eastern front as well as the Northern
front. Today, the Eastern front has embraced democracy and we are just
ready ourselves for a major election to take place in the month of May.
So that picture shows what we have said in the past has come true
now. And similarly, in the North, we are making good progress and the
military engagement is very much on a targeted basis taking on the
Tigers,” the Minister said.
He said the troops were making significant progress. “We have got the
facts very much in favour of us. With that I will show you the progress
we are now making in the East. That is why I say that defeating
terrorism, restoring democracy and achieving a pluralistic society is
our paramount goal.”
He told the interviewer that the Government has now opened up a major
entry point for any one to leave the Tiger camps and reach out and the
Government is prepared to assist them. This is something that we are
discussing heavily in terms of the rehabilitation process on the ones
who are leaving the Tiger camps.
Referring to the human rights situation, the Minister said on the
U.S. State Department report that came out - I have already responded
to, on March 31, and again their response to my reply has come and
reached me today - in fact it has reached my address in Colombo and it
has been redirected to me in London. Their position is that they want to
have a continued engagement in order to see how we can improve the
situation in line with my response.