“LTTE LOST THE WAR, AND NOW THE
PRO-LTTE DIASPORA IS TRYING TO DEFEAT THE PEACE” -- SAYS
SRI LANKAN AMBASSADOR AT THE HOMELAND SECURITY POLICY INSTITUTE
OF THE GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY
Ambassador Jaliya Wickramasuriya speaks to a group
of scholars and Asian experts at the Homeland Security Policy
Institute of the George Washington University
Sri Lankan Ambassador Jaliya Wickramasuriya
told a group of scholars and Asian experts Monday how the Sri
Lankan military defeated the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam,
as well as how the government will sustain peaceful reconciliation.
Speaking before the Homeland Security Policy Institute of The
George Washington University, Ambassador Wickramasuriya described
a number of key developments that led to the government’s
successful conclusion of the 25-year-long conflict with the
Those initiatives, he said, included a clear command to the
military from President Mahinda Rajapaksa to destroy the LTTE
while liberating civilians without harm.
Other important developments, Ambassador Wickramasuriya said,
included the President’s efforts to engage former LTTE
leaders in the political process, and the work of Western government
to shut-down pro-LTTE fund raising abroad.
“What is interesting about Sri Lanka’s experience
is not just how it fought and won a war against terrorists,”
Ambassador Wickramasuriya said, “but how we must now keep
terrorism from returning.”
Cross section of scholars and Asian experts
While ending the conflict was an important
milestone, Ambassador Wickramasuriya said, “the government
knows that what is happening now is even more important. We
are rebuilding our nation. We are repairing 25 years of ethnic
hatred promoted by the LTTE. We are reconciling differences
and rebuilding lives.”
The foundation of that effort, the Ambassador explained, is
a political process aimed at electing local Tamil leaders in
Northern Sri Lankan, as well as an ambitious plan to rebuild
homes, buildings, highways and rail lines.
Bolstering the economy in the north, he said, will guarantee
During the address, Frank Cilluffo, the Homeland Security Policy
Institute’s director and a former White House advisor
on terrorism and homeland security issues, asked about the fate
of the internally displaced persons in Sri Lanka.
Ambassador Wickramasuriya explained that more than 50,000 people
have left the welfare centers since June, and that another 50,000
are expected to return to their homes or the homes of relatives
by Sept. 30. That will drop the number of displaced persons
in the centers to below 200,000.
The pace of resettlement, he said, has been determined by the
need to screen the civilians for the presence of LTTE cadres,
as well as the need to rid the north of thousands of LTTE landmines.
James Clad, a senior research fellow at the U.S. government’s
National Defense University who has studied the conflict in
Sri Lanka, told those gathered for the discussion that, “the
Sri Lankan military acted with real professionalism,”
as the conflict concluded, a view he said was backed up by similar
observations by sources he has within the International Committee
of the Red Cross.
Those attending the Ambassador’s address included Asian
scholars, executives of U.S. companies, representatives of foreign
embassies, administration and government officials and a staff
member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.
Lasting peace, the Ambassador said, “will come with the
He noted success of Tamil candidates in the Aug. 8 elections
in Jaffna and Vavuniya. Future elections, he said, will strengthen
“This political solution will show Tamil citizens that
they have a voice in Sri Lanka, an important and powerful one,”
Ambassador Wickramasuriya said.
The Ambassador praised the United States and other nations that
outlawed the LTTE. He warned that some groups continue to promote
LTTE causes and fundraising.
“The LTTE lost the war, and now the pro-LTTE diaspora
is trying to defeat the peace,” he said. “People
in Sri Lanka only want peace. It is time for peace to take hold.”
Embassy of Sri Lanka
01 September 2009