Noting that history is marked with leaders who have sought to consolidate power within themselves, the President of Sri Lanka today underscored that as leaders come into power, they must yield it to build democratic institutions and safeguard democracies.
“I have established democracy in my country and have taken action to get rid of political groups which were moving toward autocracy,” stated President Maithripala Sirisena, noting that since being elected in 2015, he had transferred executive powers to his country’s Parliament.
In his address to the 72nd annual general debate at the United Nations General Assembly, President Sirisena further said that Sri Lanka had suffered a protracted conflict, lasting over 30 years and having devastating impact on the country’s economy.
Therefore, sustainable development must be a priority for Sri Lanka, he added, noting that it should also be a global priority.
Stressing the worsening impact of climate change around the world, the also said that the implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate change was essential for the future of humanity, and highlighted that Sri Lanka is focused on sustainable agriculture.
Concluding his remarks, he said that national reconciliation is important, particularly given the country’s diverse population and expressed that while certain elements expected fast results which he said would merely be “short-term solutions.”
Sri Lanka wants to create peace and unity and to promote brotherhood among its people through prosperity, he added, noting: “ours is a slow and steady pace.”