Lankan Prez warns nations against sympathising with terrorism

Under international flak for his handling of the Tamil issue, President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Friday said nations who sympathise with separatism are bound to become the victims of terrorism.

Last Updated: Jun 18, 2010, 20:47 PM IST

Colombo: Under international flak for his
handling of the Tamil issue, President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Friday
said nations who sympathise with separatism are bound to
become the victims of terrorism, as Sri Lanka celebrated with
pomp a year of LTTE`s military defeat.

A delayed victory parade celebrated the first
anniversary of the defeat of Tamil Tigers here with the Sri
Lankan military marching in a pompous display of artillery,
tanks and multi-barrel rocket launchers.
In an apparent reference to nations who have demanded
an international probe into alleged human rights violations by
Sri Lankan security forces during the last phase of the war,
Rajapaksa said sympathising with terrorism would not help
them.

"I must state that the countries that show sympathy
towards terrorism and separatism will be the victims of
terrorism," Rajapaksa said in his speech on the Victory Day.

Rajapaksa, who is the commander in chief of the armed
forces, also presided over the parade in which hundreds of Sri
Lankan soldiers, armoured vehicles and dance troops marched
past the well decorated Galle Face area in Colombo.

Amid a clamour for an international probe, Rajapaksa
who was re-elected to the top post with a thumping majority,
in a veiled attack blasted Western nations for their dual
approach to terror.

"It is a grave error of judgement to think that while
being opposed to terrorism targeting you, to believe that
terrorism that is no threat to you is good," he said.

The President said the world would do well to learn
from the "lesson of history" that such hypocrisy would
actually boost terrorism.
"The world has so far trod on this wrong path.
Terrorism remains unvanquished because of this incorrect
thinking. The countries that show sympathy towards terrorism
and separatism will be the victims of terrorism. This is the
lesson of history," Rajapaksa said.

The Victory Day celebrations were earlier scheduled
for May 18, the day the military last year announced the
wiping out of most of the LTTE leadership, including its chief
Vellupillai Prabhakaran.

However, heavy rains that flooded a large part of the
capital, forced the celebrations to be delayed.

The President said some countries, battered by
terrorism, had actually taken strength from the victory won by
Sri Lanka against the LTTE.

"It is time for the countries facing attacks from
terrorism to look back and see where they had gone wrong,
whereas Sri Lanka has succeeded," he said.

Artillery, tanks and multi-barrel rocket launchers
went past the Colombo`s main thoroughfare facing the Indian
Ocean as warplanes and helicopters flew over and navy
gunships sailed along the coast.

Strongly defending the human rights record of his
military, Rajapaksa said his troops "carried a gun in one hand
and a copy of the human rights charter in the other".

"Our guns were not fired at a single civilian," he
said.
Rajapaksa said his government had already appointed an
Independent Commission to inquire into the causes that led to
terrorism, "the lessons we can learn from this, and the path
to reconciliation".

His comments came a day after UN Undersecretary-
General for Political Affairs B Lynn Pascoe said the world
body plans to appoint a panel of experts to look into human
rights issues in Sri Lanka.

Pascoe said he expects Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
to announce the appointment of the panel early next week.

"As long as we remember that those who sacrificed
their lives now rest in the soil of our land, I declare with
pride that our people shall not leave room for anyone to
divide this motherland of ours," Rajapaksa said.

Rajapaksa said the people should have complete faith
that the land that was "liberated from terrorism" will not be
handed over to the forces of separatism again.

"What those from abroad who seek to strengthen
separatism are really doing is to once again corral the people
of the north into camps.

"The world should look into what happened to all the
aid that was given as relief for the Tamil people of the
North. For 30 long years they did not see the development of
roads, electricity and schools," Rajapaksa said.

He also promised to resolve the problems faced by the
people of the war-torn North, "by the end of this year".

"It did not take us long to restore normalcy to the
East that was affected by terrorism," he said.

PTI