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Exclusive: Cameron on his meeting with Maithripala

10 March 2015 12:34 am - 13     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Following is the Op-ed piece by British Prime Minister David Cameron exclusively for the Daily Mirror on his scheduled meeting with visiting President Maithripala Sirisena today.

Prime Minister David Cameron article for Daily Mirror:
 
Ever since my visit to Sri Lanka in 2013 I have been determined to help address the issues of Sri Lanka’s past and put the country on the path to a brighter, peaceful and prosperous future. Since my visit, a UN led investigation into alleged war crimes by all sides in the conflict has got underway. And the people of Sri Lanka have elected a new President who has made clear that he is fully committed to reconciliation and reform.
 
The new Sri Lankan government has a real opportunity to unlock Sri Lanka’s enormous potential through economic, political and social reform, and by fairly and transparently addressing the issues of the past. And that will be my message to President Sirisena when I hold my first meeting with him in Downing Street today.
 
President Sirisena has already taken encouraging steps - the release of some military land, the appointment of civilian governors for the North and East and the President’s visit to the North of Sri Lanka to discuss Tamil issues.
 
In response to this open and progressive stance by President Sirisena, which is a dramatic contrast to that of his predecessor Mr Rajapaksa, we supported the proposal from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to extend the timetable of his report by six months.
 
We did this because we want to see genuine reconciliation in Sri Lanka. And we believe that the extra time enables the new Sri Lankan government to engage with the UN investigation, as it has committed to do, and to establish its own credible accountability processes.
 
I will encourage President Sirisena to seize this window of opportunity.  The Sri Lankan government must keep up the pace on reform. Building trust by demilitarising the North, handing more land back from the military to local communities and releasing detainees held without charge.
 
And I will urge President Sirisena to deliver on his commitments to tackle the challenges that are holding Sri Lanka back. Strengthening respect for human rights, eradicating corruption, improving political accountability and ensuring the freedom of the press. These are all essential elements of a democratic, fair and functioning state. If President Sirisena can achieve his ambitious programme of reform then I truly believe he can help to heal the deep wounds of war and rebuild this beautiful country.
 
I will never forget the faces of those I met in Jaffna over a year ago. Their stories of unbearable suffering and loss will stay with me forever and continue to drive me in pushing for change. What I saw and heard also underlined why I went there in the first place: to shine a light on the lack of progress and to help bring about international pressure for reform.
 
We owe it to victims and survivors across Sri Lanka to ensure that those responsible are held to account. And we will not forget them. That’s why we, and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, have made clear that the report must be published and discussed by September 2015 and we will stick to that.
 
In six months time the spotlight will be back on Sri Lanka. Let it shine on a nation that is prepared to address its past, reconcile its differences and reform its political structures so it can secure a bright future for all its peoples. And let it shine on a renewed and growing partnership between the UK and Sri Lanka.
 
-ends-
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  Comments - 13

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  • ranes Wednesday, 11 March 2015 03:54 PM

    Are we taking instructions from past rulers /colonisers Do the best for the people of Srilankans we. Have educated young people who needs to provide a living for their families.colonization never provided jobs !!

    prabath Wednesday, 11 March 2015 04:24 PM

    “The issue today is the same as it has been throughout all history, whether man shall be allowed to govern himself, or be ruled by a small elite” – Thomas Jefferson (1743 - 1826), (Elected 1801) 3rd U.S. President

    Dean Tuesday, 10 March 2015 12:03 PM

    What about the accountability of Crimes against humanity caused by the British against Singhalese during their rule in Sri Lanka??? When will you address that Mr Cameron??

    jan Chandra Tuesday, 10 March 2015 01:45 PM

    You guys are in cuckoo land.

    sunil Tuesday, 10 March 2015 01:55 PM

    The British are the best and true friends of SL. More sure then USA, India and of course China.

    SM Tuesday, 10 March 2015 02:07 PM

    Cameron is a racist. He came for CHOGM and snubbed the people of this country by evading the warm welcome arranged for him by the people. Sri Lankans are warm people and their hospitality comes from the heart. What did he do? If he had issues with the previous president he should have sorted it out with him and not by snubbing the people of this country. He only visited the north. Did he ever ask a Sinhala person how they felt when villages were massacred and little infants cut into pieces by the LTTE. Did he talk to those poor farmers who lost their children majority infants..all hacked to death. This guy is a typical politician. He is playing to the LTTE gallery in UK to get his votes. Remember these fellows don’t do anything for us for the love of Sri Lanka…they are the worst human rights violators. Look back to our own history!!

    Ben Hurling Tuesday, 10 March 2015 03:08 PM

    Cameron does exactly the opposite in Israel. Such a hypocrite has no right to preach to SL.

    Kiris Baba Amaray Tuesday, 10 March 2015 10:36 AM

    For sure this meeting will bring-forth lot of developments to SriLanka.

    Bala Tuesday, 10 March 2015 03:09 PM

    What rights ? You still have Adele Balasingham who trained female suicide bombers - why not deport her to Australia like earlier convicts.

    Horri Jimonis Tuesday, 10 March 2015 10:39 AM

    MR would have met only UN-known country leaders whom needs SriLankan aid, but our President has close contacts with World Leaders.

    dilshan Tuesday, 10 March 2015 03:10 PM

    Was it only the north that suffered? what about the train bombs, bus stands and massacre of thousands in the cities and villages, what about the countless politicians killed? Is it only the north the world sees? Does Cameron think all was hunky dory in the south, Is that what the BBC reported? Idiot !

    simon Tuesday, 10 March 2015 06:20 AM

    This is all about North welfare !

    aruna Tuesday, 10 March 2015 11:02 AM

    @ simon; And, Sirisena, a representative of North


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