Terrorism remains the greatest threat to stability and progress worldwide, Sri Lanka’s President told the General Assembly today, calling on countries to agree on taking a consistent and uncompromising approach in a bid to stamp out the menace.
Mahinda Rajapaksa, speaking on the third day of the Assembly’s general debate, said his country’s own experience of terrorism in the past 25 years demonstrated the need for firm resolve on the issue.
“Recent experience the world over amply demonstrates that inconsistent standards and discriminating approaches can unintentionally give a fresh lease of life to the forces of terror,” he said.
“An explicit and uniform response which refuses to recognize political shades of terrorism is necessarily required.”
Mr. Rajapaksa stressed that terrorism threatens all countries, rich and poor.
“It must be remembered as well that terrorist groups frequently operate under the guise of front organizations. Conferring legitimacy on these has the inevitable effect of providing comfort and encouragement to the merchants of terror.”
He called for both practical actions at the ground level and the need for a “loud and clear” collective message from the world’s countries about the issue.
Turning to his own country, where Government forces defeated Tamil rebels in 2009 after a protracted conflict, the President said he was aware that “the battle for peace is every bit as important and difficult as the struggle against terror.”
Mr. Rajapaksa said the South Asian country had made great progress since the fighting ended, resettling more than 95 per cent of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and clearing large areas of mines laid during the conflict.
“Revival of the economy has enhanced incomes and improved livelihoods, ex-combatants and other cadres after exposure to programmes of vocational training and counselling have been reintegrated into society [and] electoral process has been restored after decades, making possible the emergence of a democratic leadership.”
He said that Northern province, where much of the fighting occurred, was now experiencing economic growth rates of 22 per cent, and the number of Tamils recruited as police officers had also jumped.