President Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka: Rapid Progress and Development is the Cherished Goal for the New Year

Jan 13, 2010, 06:44 ET from President Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka, January 13 /PRNewswire/ -- At the dawn of a New Year it is customary to look back on the year just ended and reflect on our expectations for the next.

We greet the New Year with commensurate pride and satisfaction at our achievements in the past year when, together as a nation, we overcame the deadly challenge of terrorism, bringing to an end 27 years of mindless brutality, debilitating self-doubt, and unforeseen division among our people. With tremendous sacrifice Sri Lanka prevailed as one, as we have done repeatedly in our history. This transition into a New Year is an opportunity to again express our thanks on behalf of the nation to all service personnel who willingly made the supreme sacrifice and to the mothers, fathers, spouses and children of those heroes of our time.

We look to the New Year with abundant hope in our ability to fulfil the aspirations of our people for progress and prosperity as a nation, and a land of peace and unity for our children. We look forward with a commitment to heal the wounds of the past and also resist the pressures from abroad that stand in our way in this great task; as we stood firm against uninvited interference in our efforts to defeat terrorism.

With the cost and pain of conflict behind us, my government will now be even more focused on diverting our energies to development; continuing the many massive projects we launched in the midst of the fight against terror, and launching new ventures to bring to our country the progress it has been denied from the time of independence.

Our strategy of development in the new decade beginning today will seek to make Sri Lanka the South Asian hub of ocean and air traffic, and communications in a knowledge - based society. We shall build on the foundations already laid in the construction of harbours, airports, extensive road networks and the marked increase in IT literacy in Sri Lanka.

We have in sight a period of reconciliation and tolerance having shown the world our success in resettling nearly 300,000 internally displaced citizens within a given target, with most of them already back in their homes or in familiar terrain. Similarly, we will not be held back by threatened economic sanctions or withdrawn trade concessions by those who seek strategic interference in the national affairs of Sri Lanka, at a time when our people are moving towards a decisive stage in the political development of the country.

We remain committed to a strengthened and sustained friendship with the countries that supported us in full measure to defeat terrorism and bring peace to our people. Similarly, we shall foster and encourage good relations with those who recognize and respect our sovereignty and encourage us in ways to move on the path to peace and prosperity.

The developments we envisage at the dawn of this New Year will be those that protect our environment and safeguard our national assets, while ensuring expanded and fair trade in an increasingly competitive world.

It is with a renewed commitment to the stability of the State, and the progress of our people that I extend to you the warmest greetings for a Peaceful, Happy and Prosperous New Year, which will usher in the greatness and dignity that is the right of all Sri Lankans.

Written by: President Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka

SOURCE President Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka