"Three years ago, our Government ended the terrorist challenge largely through its own efforts. Sri Lanka is firmly committed to redressing the grievances of all parties affected by the internal conflict.
Sri Lanka exemplifies the challenges faced by a society emerging from the shadow of a sustained conflict which spanned three decades, and entering upon an era of peace and stability. The gradual diminution of these challenges and the brevity of the period which has elapsed since the end of the conflict, leave no room for doubt as to the degree of success achieved by the Government of Sri Lanka in respect of a wide range of issues relating to development and reconciliation. It is only about three years since the conflict ended.
Prioritisation was a central feature of the government's plan of action. The progress on the ground during the last three years with regard to the resettlement of internally displaced persons, (all internally displaced persons have been resettled), the re-integration into society of thousands of ex-combatants after exposure to programmes of livelihood skills training which equipped them to earn their living with dignity and independence, the rapid completion of the demining process, and the unprecedented focus on infrastructure development leading to very visible invigoration of the economy of the Island as a whole, and the Northern Province in particular, is quite apparent.
The experience of Sri Lanka demonstrates that, given the quality of dynamic leadership and unwavering commitment which His Excellency President Mahinda Rajapaksa provided, an effective political and military strategy and strong rapport with all sections of the public, it is possible to prevail against the most ruthless forces of terror. No one has greater commitment to reconciliation in an all-inclusive spirit than the government.
Unhelpful external pressures that support narrow partisan interests could easily derail the initiatives which have produced substantial results and peace on the ground, as we begin a new and exciting chapter in our country's history.
Our accomplishments are quite remarkable, considering that many developing countries continue to struggle for equitable social development, together with economic advancement. We are always ready to share our experiences with other countries. What we have achieved is not only for us but for all of humanity.
In the international community's quest to bring some semblance of equity in economic development across the continents, we must maintain increased focus on Africa, especially through South- South cooperation. Sri Lanka is expanding its engagement vigorously with the region, especially in matters relating to trade, investment, tourism and technical assistance.