No room for another ethnic war:Lanka prez to UNGA

United Nations, Sep 22: There will not be a repeat of the ethnic war with Tamils, Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has assured the international community as he sought their help to make the country a nation "devoid of differences".

Addressing the 71st session of the UN General Assembly, Sirisena said his government would preserve Sri Lanka's independence, territorial integrity and sovereignty while chartering the country's democratic journey based on an indigenous thinking.

maithripala-sirisena

He said Sri Lanka has in recent months taken many steps for socio-economic transformation, leaving no room for the repeat of the separatist war.

He appealed to the international community for support to make Sri Lanka a modern nation devoid of differences.

Sirisena, who defeated the Sinhala-majority favoured Mahinda Rajapaksa, has introduced several political reforms since being elected President in 2015.

He has made an attempt to address the concerns of the Tamil minority to achieve reconciliation.

Tamils, however, say a lot more is needed to be done.

For the same reasons he has faced criticism from the majority nationalists for giving in to the Tamil separatists.

Sri Lankan forces defeated the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in 2009 after a nearly three decades of civil war.

In the final phase of the war an estimated 40,000 civilians were killed. More than 20,000 people are said to be missing in the island, some of them since the late 1980s, with their families continuously demanding an international probe.

The UN too has been pushing for a special court to investigate the allegations.

Sri Lanka has dismissed the figures as "excessive" but the UN Human Rights Council has passed three consecutive resolutions since 2012 demanding accountability for warcrimes blamed on both the government troops and the LTTE.

PTI

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