“As we move forward in the New Year, we must remember our long-held custom of putting differences behind us and looking to the future with hope and confidence.”

It is with great anticipation and pride that I wish each of you in the Sri Lankan community in the United States a Happy Sinhala &Tamil New Year.

As we all know, this New Year will be the first in many years without conflict in Sri Lanka. What better time to forget past differences and begin anew? So much has happened at home in this last year that we have much to be thankful for, and much to expect in the New Year.

At long last the fight against terrorism has been won and signs of stability and future development are everywhere.

Two important signs of progress were the elections that have just been held - the January 26 Presidential Election and last week’s April 8 Parliamentary vote. In both, Sri Lankans gave President Mahinda Rajapaksa a resounding endorsement to continue his vision of reconciliation and redevelopment.

President Rajapaksa’s re-election means that development programs in Northern and Eastern Sri Lanka will not only continue, but expand. The Parliamentary election, which gave the United People’s Freedom Alliance a clear majority, means the fluid continuation of policies that brought about peace.

In his New Year message, President Rajapaksa said: “This is the first New Year being celebrated in harmony and contentment since the motherland was unified.

“It is my belief that these New Year festivities should seek to further unite our people in heart and mind. The New Year celebrations by Sinhalese and Tamils alike are most appropriate in recognizing the kinship among us. This is the continuance of strong cultural traditions that strengthen the bonds among the people of our land.”

As Sinhalese, Tamils and other Sri Lankans living in the United States, we must, as one community, continue to support Sri Lanka’s progress. It is more important than ever that we converse openly and combine our efforts to help everyone in Sri Lanka as the recovery continues.

The world now recognizes the strategic significance and economic potential of Sri Lanka’s lasting peace. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton earlier this week issued her own New Year greeting, noting that, “Every year this celebration brings the hope of new beginnings and fresh promise, but this year it carries added resonance. For the first time in decades, Sri Lankans from all parts of the island can celebrate together in a peaceful and united country.”

It is vital that we represent our country with pride and resolve. This New Year offers a golden chance for Sri Lanka to leap forward as a unified nation. We can help make that happen.

I wish you all a Happy New Year!

Jaliya Wickramasuriya
Ambassador of Sri Lanka to the United States

Embassy of Sri Lanka
Washington DC

13 April 2010



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