Political settlement with Tamils must for stability: Lankan PM

 Sri Lanka's new Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has said a "political settlement" with the minority Tamil community is a prerequisite for a "stable and secure" country.

Colombo: Sri Lanka's new Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has said a "political settlement" with the minority Tamil community is a prerequisite for a "stable and secure" country.

"If you want a stable and secure country, we must have a political solution (with Tamils) and move forward," Wickremesinghe said in an address in the Tamil-dominated Jaffna peninsula yesterday.

"The war is over, but we do not have unity among ethnic communities. Tamils have shown their willingness to ensure reconciliation. We must have a political settlement and move forward, protecting peace and stability," he was quoted as saying in a statement released by his office.

Wickremasinghe said his government is committed to uplift the communities in the war-torn Northern Province and will work towards providing basic facilities.

The government would provide electricity and clean drinking water to the people in the entire peninsula and would also focus on health and education to improve their standard of living, he said.

On the second day of his three-day tour in the Northern Province, Wickremasinghe who is visiting the Tamil heartland in a bid to strengthen government's efforts to bring about the reconciliation among the communities, met with the people in the north in the Jaffna district secretariat.

Wickremasinghe pledged to implement a massive programme to provide pure drinking water for the people in the entire peninsula.

He said the government will restart the industries that were destroyed during the war to provide employment to the people in the area.

Accordingly, the cement factory in Kankasanthurai, saltern at Elephant Pass, Paranthan chemical factory and many other large scale factories will be rebuilt, he said.

The Prime Minister said 400 youth well versed in Tamil will be recruited as police officers to solve daily law and order problems of the people.

President Maithripala Sirisena, who defeated former strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa in the polls earlier this year, received overwhelming support from the Tamil and Muslim minorities in the elections.

According to UN estimates, up to 40,000 Tamil civilians were killed by security forces during former president Mahinda Rajapaksa's regime that brought an end to the nearly three decades-long war in the country with the defeat of the LTTE in 2009.

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