Image: Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera – ©Upul Abayasekara/FT.
“The Prime Minister has been consulting different experts. They have given us the contours of Truth seeking mechanism, and one of our priorities will be to get Cabinet approval for the Truth Seeking Commission within the next few months,” says Minister Samaraweera.
He was fielding questions from journalists at a special press briefing held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Colombo.
The Government, he has said, will sit down with all stakeholders and work out a road map for the next two years.
Samaraweera has insisted that the ruling coalition came into power promising to “introduce a constitution that will celebrate the diversity of our country along with the entrenchment of democratic values.” when asked about whether president and prime minister is on the same page on constitutional reform.
“The President and Prime Minister, I’m sure, will want to honour the commitment given by us to the people,” he has added.
Speaking about Geneva and war crimes FM Samaraweeera has said that:
“In Geneva, where acrimonious debates, votes and divisions used to take place over Sri Lanka in the past, the international community upheld and reaffirmed its trust and confidence in Sri Lanka to be in charge of its own reconciliation process, with no acrimonious words or votes but only praise,” he said. In 2014, he recalled, only 12 countries stood by Sri Lanka when the international community decided to appoint an international investigation into Sri Lanka. “This time there was no vote, no division, no accusation, no half words. Country after country took the floor to praise the Government and the people of our country and express their support for Sri Lanka.
“There are those who say that Sri Lanka sold its soul, compromised sovereignty, cowed down to the West, because of their envy and their jealousy; but I want to state very clearly that all we have done under President Sirisena and Prime Minister Wickremesinghe is to reassert our sovereignty and regain the lost respect for Sri Lanka among the international community. All we know is that there are very serious alegations against Sri Lanka. We will look into those allegations and decide, first of all, whether those are war crimes or not. I personally believe Sri Lanka has one of the most disciplined armies in the world, but like in all armies, we have miscreants; we have black sheep. So if there are people who are proven after an investigation to have done wrong, then we will deal with those people and thereby retain or protect the good name of our armed forces.”
According to Samaraweera “It is imperative that at least now Sri Lanka comes to terms with its past in order to move on as a nation”.
“We must come to terms with the tragedies of the past and then we can move forward as a new country towards a new era. When Sri Lanka celebrates its 70th anniversary of independence, let’s hope we can put our past behind us and create a country which can be proud of its diversity and be united in its diversity.”
(with the inputs form FT)