Terrorism will be defeated soon - FM
Sri Lanka will make a pitch for freeing its land from terror which
has ravaged the country for more than 35 years, observed Foreign
Minister Rohitha Bogollagama during his visit Saudi Kingdom.
“All bad things have to come to an end and LTTE will soon bite the
dust with our final onslaught, Bogollagama said in an exclusive
interview with Daily News when he came to the Kingdom on Sunday on an
invitation from his counterpart Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al Faisal.
The current operations to wipe out the LTTE is due to the
indefatigable efforts of country’s President Mahinda Rajapaksa who is
determined to liberate the Tamil people from the clutches of the
terrorists who illegally occupied some of the crown lands in the north,
the minister indicated.
He said President Rajapaksa got a mandate from the people to
eradicate terror from the country and it was endorsed from time to time
during the local and provincial elections.
The Minister said that Sri Lanka has taken centre stage in
international affairs because of the current operations in the LTTE held
areas. “This is a war against terror not against the Tamil people. The
Government is making every effort to counter terrorism in Sri Lanka as
part of the global campaign against this menace.”
Victims of LTTE terror included former Sri Lankan President
Ranasinghe Premadasa, former Indian Premier Rajiv Gandhi, former Foreign
Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar, several Lankan ministers, innocent men,
women and children in the island.
The LTTE chased the Muslims living in Jaffna, northern part of the
island and those Muslims are still living as Internally Displaced
Persons in Puttalam for the past 20 years. Due to rebel atrocities,
buses, trains and public transport carrying civilians were bombed
killing hundreds of people.
“Now we are on the brink of final victory where we could either
capture or kill them totally,” he said, adding that the delay in
completing the battle is due to the fact that the LTTE has been using
the civilian population as a human shield to safeguard their interests.
“More than 150,000 Tamils have come to the government lands from the
rebel held territory and this exodus has demonstrated the confidence
they have in the government for their future.
Stressing that his government’s biggest concern is the safety of the
civilians, he said: “If we wish, we can finish this war within hours but
we are exercising maximum precaution to avoid collateral damage during
our expedition and the civilians who have come back to the government
lands will be given a new lease of life and they will be rehabilitated
in their own lands to offer them a new lease of life.
“However, he added that the terrorists who have been responsible for
the loss of innumerable lives and movable and immovable properties have
to pay the price for their actions.
“Its leader Prabhakaran has to pay the highest price for his deadly
criminal activities. He is a wanted criminal and his movement has been
proscribed by several countries. Even Indian Premier Dr. Manmohan Singh
has defined him as an ‘offender’.
Our judicial courts have passed sentence on him for his aggression on
the Central Bank where the members of the public and bank employees lost
their lives in Colombo.
“We will arrest him and present him to our courts for necessary
justice because we believe in the democratic process.”
“The Government works according to its national agenda without being
subject to any international pressure. We have also educated the world
community and made them understand the ground realities in our country.
The international community has understood how we have addressed this
issue,” he said.
Regarding his visit to the Kingdom, he said he was here to strengthen
the bilateral relations between the two countries.
“We value our friendship with the Kingdom since it is home to 550,000
Sri Lankans and is blessed with the Two Holy Cities of Macca and Madinah
which hosts millions of Muslim pilgrims from all parts of the world
including Sri Lanka.
He recalled that recently SFD, has given a grant of SR 40 million and
SR 75 million for the construction of the National Neuro - Trauma Center
in Colombo and for an Epilepsy Hospital in Colombo respectively.
“Saudi Arabia is one of the countries which successfully wiped out
terrorism from its land. Sri Lanka will also follow suit in days to
He also said that the ministerial talks with Foreign Minister Prince
Saud Al Faisal, were focused on regional cooperation between the GCC and
the SAARC countries. Bogollagama said that the Saudi minister told him
that the SAARC Food Security program is an example to be emulated by the
GCCA A in the region.
He also pointed out that the GCC secretary general Abdul Rahman Al
Attiya had agreed to offer its membership support to enable Sri Lanka to
gain an observer status in the Organization of Islamic Countries. He
added that they discussed the areas where the GCC and the Asian bodies
could cooperate with each other.