Saturday, November 7, 2009

S.B. says only President Rajapakse could release the country from terrorism

The UNP Leader of the Central Province S.B. Dissanayake said that President Mahinda Rajapaksa released the country from terrorism.

None of the heads of state of this country have not been able to accomplish this task. He said that President Rajapaksa has won the war. The other heads of state such as J.R. Jayawardena, R. Premadasa, D.B. Wijetunga, Chandrika Kumaranatunga and Ranil Wickremasinghe have failed in this task. The war that prevailed for thirty four years affected the future of this country and that of the children. Parliamentarian Mano Ganeshan addressing the function at the formation of the United National Front at the Parliament complex also stated that President Rajapaksa was the only President who could end the war. He said that J.R. Jayawardena made an attempt and then came President Premadasa. President Wijetunga, Chandrika Bandaranayake, Ranil Wickremasinghe also attempted to solve this issue, although they were not successful. The war was carried out militarily and while maintaining peace. Today the war has come to an end. There is no terrorism. Separatism also does not prevail as a force in the north and east.

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Sri Lanka: Notes from a War on Terror

Vanguard correspondent Mariana van Zeller travels to Sri Lanka during the final days of the country's civil war to see how one of the world's most powerful insurgencies, the Tamil Tigers, was finally defeated. While some security experts are hailing Sri Lanka as a case study in how to defeat an insurgency, Mariana finds that it comes at a steep price.

Has Mangala Samaraweera Converted? Who's Next?

Mangala Samaraweera was not taking buddhist precepts, though he was born and portrayed as a Buddhist, along with Hakeem and Mano Ganeshan.

Few more to join this opportunistic and unpatriotic group soon. Shall we forget the recent past and let external international forces again destroy our motherland, which was liberated from the LTTE clutches just a few months ago? You to decide...

During signing of UNP led alliance of UNF

Related Story: General Fonseka’s representative meets Mano Ganeshan

Friday, November 6, 2009

President’s allocation is for 21 institutions

The allocation made in the Vote on Account for the President is not only for him. It is related to 21 institutions.

This reference was made by Minister Anura Priyadharshana Yapa at today’s Cabinet news briefing. The Minister said funds had been allocated for 21 offices under the President. It is not only for the President’s Office. He said that the Office of the Commissioner General of Essential Services purchases all the essential commodities. The allocations are also made for the special Presidential Commissions, former Presidents and their family members.

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North entrance of the Colombo Port re-opened

The first vessel Lal Bahadur Shastri departs from the Northern entrance of the Colombo Port. Here Port, Aviation, Irrigation and Water Management Minister, Chamal Rajapaksa, Navy Chief, Vice Admiral, Tissara Samarasinghe and Sri Lanka Ports Authority Chairman, Dr. Priyath Wickramage look on.

The north entrance of the Colombo Port was reopened this morning after a lapse of eight years, Ports and Civil Aviation Ministry said.

Minister of Ports and Aviation Chamal Rajapaksa in a special ceremony held this morning reopened the north entrance of the Port.

The north entrance of the Port was closed since 2001 and since then the Port was serviced with only the south entrance, Dr. Priyath Bandu Wickrema, Chairman of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority told the media.

He expects to increase the efficiency and productivity of the Port with the reopening of the north entrance.

Indian vessel MV Lal Bahadur Shastri was the first vessel to leave through the entrance after it was reopened.

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India-Sri Lanka FTA has helped cross-border trade

CHENNAI: For the past nine years, the India-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement has helped free flow of trade across the borders and India’s look-east policy would add to expansion of trade and commerce in ASEAN countries and Sri Lanka, said Governor Surjit Singh Barnala on Thursday
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Thursday, November 5, 2009

General Fonseka’s representative meets Mano Ganeshan

Democratic Peoples Front leader Mano Ganeshan at a Press briefing at the Parliamentary complex today (5)said, a representative of General Sarath Fonseka met him on the Colombo.

The M.P. stated this when answering a question posed by the media on his stance after signing the agreement of the UNF alliance viz a viz his statements made before in connection with Sarath Fonseka.

The Govt. is keeping the IDPs in internment, the JVP is alleging, to which view we too are subscribing, Ganeshan said.

The UNF objective is to abolish the Executive Presidency while the JVP too agrees with it. Ganeshan said, he inquired from the representative of Gen. Fonseka and wished to know his response in this regard.

Ganeshan stated that right along under all Governments there had been corruption and thefts. But this Govt. has been most corrupt and thieving. The whole Treasury has been transferred to the Temple Trees under this Govt. He had asked Fonseka’s representative whether he would join with them to destroy this system, Ganeshan added.

The Tamil population is confronted with the ethnic problem .While every Govt. that came to power signed agreements to solve this issue, even after the war has ended the ethnic issue has still not been resolved. Ganeshan said, he asked the representative whether the General would accept that all communities, the Tamils, Muslims and minorities shall live amicably in this country.

Ganeshan asserted, he has no personal antagonism against Gen. Fonseka or Mahinda Rajapakse.

We are prepared to face any election. The Tamils in the North and east are ready to cast their votes for the Presidential candidate we appoint. Last Presidential elections the voters could not cast their votes freely. This time they are waiting to cast their votes 100 % to our candidate. We have made plans and programs for this already. But, we will not reveal those plans now.

Ganeshan did not however give a direct answer to the question asked by the media whether the representative told, Sarath Fonseka will field as a common candidate. Ganeshan asked in return, is n’t there an answer in the question itself?

When the leader of the opposition and of the UNF Ranil Wickremesinghe was asked whether he would agree to the common candidate being fielded by the Alliance, he said the UNF was ready to face any elections, though it is still not announced whether it is the General or Presidential elections which will be held first. If the Presidential elections is held first, the President will have to forego two years of his tenure of office. After the Presidential elections is announced, we will on the basis of the policies of the Alliance present a single candidate. If there are other candidates going to enter the fray from the Opposition, that will not matter to us, he noted.

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Senior UNP MP Choksy says Mahinda Rajapaksa has wiped out terrorism and restored economic progress using Executive Presidency

Statement by Hon. K.N. Choksy, PC, Member of Parliament and former Minister of Finance and Former Minister of Constitutional and State Affairs.

The normal procedure is for the government to present to Parliament at the end of each year its financial proposals for the whole of the next calendar year. This is in the form of the Budget.

However, what happens if the term of office of the current Parliament terminates prior to the next calendar year? We are in such a situation since the term of office of the current Parliament terminates in April 2010.

Sri Lankais a democratic nation. The decision must be a democratic one. To my mind, both as a citizen and a former Finance Minister, it would be inappropriate to present a Budget and bind, possibly, a new government for the greater part of next year.

Looked at from this point of view, a Vote on Account up to the end of the current Parliament is democratic and fair, leaving it open to the Government elected at the next General Election to formulate its own financial programme of revenue raising, financial investment and economic development. However, the financial content of the present Vote on Account is open to scrutiny by Parliament.

The first thirty years of independence showed no real progress on the political, economic and social fronts. The Executive Presidency established in 1978 by President Jayewardene gave the nation the required transfusion to develop all these aspects. President Jayewardene established the open market economy, and the Board of Investment which attracted foreign private investment and developed the export market. President Premadasa used it for rural housing development and the 200 garment factories scheme. President Mahinda Rajapaksa has benefitted the nation by wiping out terrorism and restoring economic progress. There is one further important national task left to him, which I am confident he can achieve. That is to establish ethnic understanding and amity between the major communities.

Using his leadership in national issues, he should be able to achieve this directly by means of a political settlement with the Tamil Parties in Parliament, and thereafter present the outcome for Parliamentary acceptance. Then the Executive Presidency would have proved its full worth.

The institution should not be abolished in a hurry. The powers attached to the Office could be reconsidered and modified where necessary. But the Office itself should be continued. The Opposition in Parliament, I am confident, will look at the issue in this perspective, and make a well considered decision. The issue is of vital importance to the nation.

Signed: K.N. Choksy
Dated 5.11.2009

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IDPs reduced to 150,000

The number of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) is now reduced to 150,000 from the original total number of 280,000.
Resettlement and Disaster Relief Services Minister Rishard Bathiudeen announced that the resettlement of nearly 50 percent of the IDPs to their former homes was a major success, reported Daily News.

The Minister further stated that the Ministry is making rapid progress in the resettlement process of the IDPs under the directive of President Mahinda Rajapaksa in accordance with Northern Spring with the unstinted co-operation of Mr. Basil Rajapaksa, Senior Advisor to the President and the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force.
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General Fonseka was not subjected to any questioning in U.S.

The Chief of Defence Staff General Sarath Fonseka was not subjected to any questioning prior to his departure yesterday by the United States Department of Homeland Security or any other agency of the US Government.

Last month, the General who was then in the United States received a letter from the Department of Homeland Security requesting that he present himself for an interview, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs states.

Meanwhile Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the United States, Jaliya Wickramasuriya, expressed gratitude to the US government for consultations that allowed General Sarath Fonsaka, Chief of Defense Staff, to forego an interview with the US Department of Homeland Security.

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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

'Time has come for Sri Lankan expatriates to rebuild nation' - President

This is the time for all expatriate Sri Lankans to use their knowledge and skills to develop the motherland, said President Mahinda Rajapaksa addressing Sri Lankan businessmen, professionals and University students in Nepal yesterday (29).

“When I visited Nepal in March this year, we were fighting to free our motherland from terrorism but today I am addressing you as a leader, who liberated the country from terrorism”, the President further said. People of all races and religions have an opportunity to enjoy their freedom, he added.

President further noted that a major development programme has been launched in Eastern and Northern Provinces respectively through Awaking East (Negenahira Navodaya) and Northern Spring (Uthuru Vasanthaya) and the actions have already been taken for the immediate resettlement of IDPs.
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Monday, November 2, 2009

Why General Fonseka decide to meet U.S. authorities without the knowledge and consent of Sri Lanka Government?

Washington, D.C. 02 November ( When Sri Lanka’s Chief of Defense Staff General Sarath Fonseka received a call from an officer of the United States Department of Homeland Security for a ‘voluntary interview’ and was told that the intension of the ‘interview’ was to discuss alleged human rights violations committed by Sri Lanka’s Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa instead calling his government for advise, counsel and guidance he turned to a lifelong friend and the friend’s attorney for advice.

It took almost two days (48 long hours) for him to inform Sri Lanka ambassador in Washington and his immediate superior Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.

By the time he informed the embassy and the defense secretary in Sri Lanka, Fonseka had already given his consent to meet the officials of the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) at its Oklahoma office on November 4.

He immediately received a written confirmation. The DHS office in Oklahoma was arranged because General Fonseka maintains a house and his two daughters and the son-in-law reside there.

General Fonseka arrived in the United States on October 24 on an official visit to meet with officials in the State Department and the Department of Defense. As State Department assistant secretary Robert Blake was indisposed Sri Lanka ambassador to the U.S. Jaliya Wickremasuriya accompanied him to meet with Pentagon officials.

The question raised is while General Fonseka is on an official visit here when the Human Rights Violators and War Crimes Unit of the Department of Homeland Security invites him for an interview, most notably to discuss the alleged human rights violations of Sri Lanka’s Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa as to why he failed to contact the Defense Ministry in Colombo to get advise and consent.

What made Fonseka to agree to the ‘voluntary meeting’ for 4th of November, 48 hours before he intimated Ambassador Wickremasuriya and his ministry in Colombo?

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US tries to frame Gotabhaya using Fonseka

As officers from the US Department of Homeland Security are preparing to quiz Chief of Defence Staff General Sarath Fonseka on November 04 regarding alleged war crimes that had taken place in the country, the government of Sri Lanka had officially objected and protested such moves and the Foreign Ministry had already summoned the US ambassador in Sri Lanka for an urgent meeting today morning.

A senior government official told Daily Mirror that General Sarath Fonseka was on an official visit to the USA and carried a diplomatic passport.

Therefore the US government has no right to quiz General Fonseka.

The high ranking official who did not want to be identified said that the Sri Lankan embassy in Washington and the Foreign Ministry are actively engaged in preventing such a move by the US and would do anything to stop it

Meanwhile, Chief of Defence Staff Sarath Fonseka in a letter to the Sri Lankan Embassy in Washington said he had been asked by United States officials to be a ‘source’ against Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, a highly placed diplomatic source said yesterday.

Two US officials from the powerful Department of Homeland Security had reportedly made the request from General Fonseka on his son-in-law’s telephone line. General Fonseka is currently on a private visit to US, had said in his letter.

General Fonseka said one of the officials had asked him whether he was prepared to be a ‘source’ against the ‘Defence Minister’ of Sri Lanka. General Fonseka had responded by asking him whether whom he meant was the President, who is the Defence Minister.

The official had then told him he had meant Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.

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Sunday, November 1, 2009

Policemen responsible for forced drowning of a youth at the Bambalapitiya beach was taken into custody

A police constable attached to the Bambalapitiya police station wanted in connection with Thursday s forced drowning of a youth at the Bambalapitiya beach was taken into custody by the Colombo Crime Division last evening after he surrendered himself to police yesterday afternoon, police said.

Police spokesman Nimal Mediwaka said the Police and Army personnel who had allegedly assaulted the 26 year old youth in the shallow sea near the Bambalapitiya Railway Station and caused him to drown on Thursday afternoon had been identified and would be arrested.

The body of Balawarnam Sivakumar of No. 19, Indrajothi Mawatha, Ratmalana was washed ashore near the Kollupitiya Railway station at around noon yesterday. His body had been identified by his elder brother Balawarnam Kadirgamanathan (32).

The entire country watched in horror, as a group of heavily built men attacked the mentally unstable youth with wooden poles while he pleaded for mercy, when it was telecast on several news bulletins on Thursday night.

Meanwhile, Colombo Crime Division (CCD) director SP Ravidra Karawita said the policemen should not have assaulted the youth in the first place.

They should have thrown him a rope and pulled him ashore without hitting him with poles, he said.

Senior DIG Mediwaka said investigations into the incident had been handed over to the CCD, keeping the Bambalapitiya Police out of the scene.

The body of Sivakumar had been taken to the Police Morgue. The postmortem was to be held last afternoon, according to Mr Karawita.

The Daily Mirror reliably learns that Police personnel seen hitting the youth in the video footage had gone missing from the Bambalapitiya Police station.

Kadirgamanathan, speaking to the Daily Mirror yesterday, said that his brother had been mentally unstable for about two years, following a love affair.

He was heartbroken after his girlfriend dumped him suddenly in the latter part of 2006. Soon after the incident he was extremely depressed and had to be treated at the Angoda Mental Hospital for about 10 days in 2007, said Kadirgamanathan.

After treatment at the hospital he seemed steady and even worked at a motor spare parts shop in Panchikawatte as he was a good mechanic. He worked there for about six months. Then he got sick once again as he had stopped taking the drugs prescribed by the doctors at the hospital. He was taken once again to Angoda and was there for six months. He was discharged in March this year and did not show any signs of mental illness until a few days before the tragedy, he said.

On October 26th he began to show signs of depression and became aggressive. He was missing from home on the 27th. Last Wednesday he took back his national ID from me and went out early in the morning. Later in the day I heard that he was with some of his friends, he said.

On the following day, at about 1.00 a.m., he had gone to the house of his former boss and attempted to start his vehicle. Then he had alerted the nearby army checkpoint. The Army personnel had released him after questioning. On Thursday Kadirgamanathan had received a call at his office and informed that his brother had created a scene at Ratmalana and was going towards Colombo and told to take him home.

That was the last time I heard about him. My uncle and friends had not been able to locate him. I learnt about his fate through Sirasa News First at 10.00 p.m., a grieving Kadirgamanathan said.

Tarith Ramesh 20, of No. 8, Ransivi Lane, Bambalapitiya, an Airline Ticketing agent, said Balawarnam was hurling stones at trains and vehicles driven along the Marine Drive from about 10.00 a.m. on Thursday. He attempted to draw the attention of the people in the vehicles by dancing on the highway and threatening to attack them with stones. When the drivers did not pay attention he threw stones at them damaging several vehicles. Then he threw stones to a moving train and hit the engine driver, wounding him. The driver had lodged a complaint with the Bambalapitiya Station Master.

Another train had come to halt when he threw stones at it and the passengers had got down. There was a confrontation with the passengers when they tried to apprehend him. The 119 was alerted and the Bambalapitiya Police were said to be on their way to the scene.

When the policemen and some army personnel arrived he jumped into the sea as was his habit. He threw stones he had collected at the people and security personnel. One army officer was injured. When they attempted to get near him he went further into the sea and threw sand at them.

By this time Balawarnam was a threat to the people and security personnel. Some passengers threw two poles which were drifting on the sea to the policemen.

Confirming Charith s narrative, Sandun Dahanayaka (19) of 39, Asoka Gardens, Bambalapitiya said the passengers who had gathered near the scene had even asked the soldiers to shoot at Balawarnam.

He was a threat to all. He warned them not get near him or he would hit them with stones and poles. Once he got injured himself after falling onto the boulders on the beach and was bleeding heavily at the time he went down, said Dahanayaka.

>> Source

New IGP takes up duties on Tuesday

Senior DIG (Administration) Mahinda Balasuriya assumes duties as the 32nd Inspector General of Police (IGP) on Tuesday. His letter of appointment was expected last night, following President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s return from a visit to Nepal.

Mr. Balasuriya joined the Police Department in 1978, and has held a number of key posts, including those of Senior DIG, Range I and Range III.

He also supervised police coverage of the North and East for three years, and was the Special Task Force (STF) Senior DIG in operations against the LTTE. In the past few months he has been closely involved in the resettlement of displaced persons in the North and East.

Mr. Balasuriya is an old boy of Ananda College, Colombo. He is presently studying for a PhD with the University of Peradeniya’s Department of Political Science. His thesis relates to LTTE terrorism and national security in Sri Lanka.

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Gota speaks out on Fonseka issue

By Shamindra Ferdinando, The Island

Responding to criticism of an alleged attempt to sideline Chief of Defence Staff General Sarath Fonseka and to deny the war veteran the credit he deserves for spearheading the war against the LTTE, Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa says a group of bankrupt politicians are now working overtime to destabilise the country.

"This is nothing but a despicable plot being hatched at the expense of the entire country," Rajapaksa says.

Unlike the previous moves by the Opposition to weaken an elected government, this is an attempt to sow dissension among the country’s battle-hardened armed forces, the Defence Secretary alleges. Those who play politics with national security in a post-LTTE era will incur the wrath of Gods and voters at the forthcoming elections, he says.

In an exclusive interview with The Island, Defence Secretary Rajapaksa, who played a pivotal role in destroying the LTTE, said that they (the Rajapaksas) had been accused of clipping General’s Fonseka’s wings by appointing him as the CDS. Dismissing that allegation as a canard, he said, whoever held that post had enormous powers and influence over the entire security establishment. In fact, the CDS chaired a powerful committee comprising the three service chiefs and other officials, who handled the country’s defence, he said.

With the consent of the President, the Chief of Defence Staff may hold the post for two years and be given extensions in service biannually.

The CDS is tasked with issuing orders regarding strategies of the armed forces, assisting the Defence Minister, developing a strategy for overall work of the armed forces, coordinating intelligence activities among the armed forces, assessing the strength of potential enemies, preparation and evaluation of plans related to the armed forces, preparation of policies for the training of joint armed forces and preparation of policy for the UN peacekeeping operations etc.

An irate Defence Secretary rejected the Opposition allegation that the former Army Commander had been ill-treated by the government: "Let me tell you that General Fonseka was appointed as CDS with his consent. Although, I haven’t discussed this issue publicly before, I have no option but to reveal what really transpired."

Rajapaksa said: "Once the army had wiped out Velupillai Prabhakaran on the banks of the Nanthikadal lagoon on May 18, we focussed on the proposed changes at the top command and the control structure of the armed forces. The President had to promote Navy Chief of Staff Rear Admiral Thisara Samarasinghe as the Commander before June 16, when he was due to retire. There were not many options. One of them was to appoint the then Navy Commander Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda as the CDS, thereby making the senior most serving navy officer Chairman of the apex defence committee."

Defence Secretary Rajapaksa said that after taking General Fonseka’s opinion into consideration, the President had appointed the former army Chief as the CDS.
General Fonseka succeeded Air Chief Marshal Donald Perera, who received top diplomatic posting to Tel Aviv.

The President had had no alternative but to move Admiral Karannagoda to a civilian post though the government very much wanted to retain him in the defence field, Rajapaksa said. There had been absolutely no effort, he said, to sideline any army officer. But unfortunately, the Opposition and a section of the media had gone to the extent of blaming the government for offering plum diplomatic posts to serving officers.

Responding to our queries, the Defence Secretary said that an influential section of the international community, too, had thrown its weight behind the Opposition campaign. Although the media had a right to criticise the government and support any political party, attempts to propagate lies could not be allowed.

The Defence Secretary said that then President J. R. Jayewardene had brought back Cyril Ranatunga from retirement to lead counter-terrorism operations. Gen. Ranatunga had executed the famous Operation Liberation in the Jaffna peninsula. Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, who commanded Gajaba troops in that operation, recalled the then Army Commander Lt. General Nalin Seneviratne telling troops that he only provided officers and men needed for the offensive. Successive governments had similar positions but none had gone so far as to institutionalise the post of the CDS through a parliamentary Act, Rajapaksa said.

"Don’t forget that I made critical changes. The Army Act and the Pension Code, too, were changed," Rajapaksa said. But, perhaps the most important change was to enable a serving officer to take over the CDS post, whereas all previous appointees had been retired officers, he said.

Dismissing allegations the CDS appointment had been an ad-hoc, the Defence Secretary said that a committee headed by veteran civil servant M. D. D. Peiris had taken over two years to finalise the proposal. "The committee interviewed all service commanders and many other senior military officials and also researched similar structures in other parts of the world before making submissions to the Attorney General’s Department as well as the Legal Draftsman," he said. According to him, the final report had been reviewed by the defence top brass again before approval was granted.

The Defence Secretary said that process had been parallel to the war against terror.

He said anyone who had doubts was free to make inquiries from the committee. Nothing could be as bad as an attempt to claim that his appointment as CDS was a comedown for the General, Rajapaksa said adding that if one cared to go through the list of serving officers assigned to CDS, one would see that the argument being peddled by the detractors of the government did not hold water.

The Defence Secretary revealed that a section of the officialdom, too, had been uneasy about the creation of such a post. "In fact, some questioned the need for such a powerful institution," he said. "But I was confident that there would be no trouble and that the government had utmost faith in the armed forces."

While declining to comment on security provided to senior military leaders in keeping with the government policy, the Defence Secretary said that no one should take the Opposition’s claim of lack of security for military leaders, seriously. "We have adopted unprecedented measures to protect the military leadership. They are given the best of security," he said.

Rajapaksa said there was nothing wrong in military personnel entering politics but definitely not in uniform. He said that their triumph over the LTTE had been the result of a joint effort spearheaded by the army. He said one of the most important decisions taken by the government had been to double the strength of the army while bolstering the the ranks of navy, air force, police, STF and Civil Defence Force.

Defence Secretary Rajapaksa, who survived an LTTE suicide attack within months of General Fonseka escaping death in a suicide strike, said the Opposition seemed to be making a desperate bid to challenge the President whose popularity was at its zenith. He said that the government was fully confident of meeting the threat and taking whatever action necessary to ensure peace and stability in the country.

Rajapaksa emphasised that the country’s triumph over the LTTE was evidence that it was capable of facing any other threat successfully.

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