Sri Lanka leader urges diaspora to return

Feb 04, 2009 (LBO) – President Mahinda Rajapaksa has urged Sri Lankans who left the island because of war to return to help rebuild the nation and revive its economy, saying Tiger terrorism was about to be completely crushed. “You must show respect to all communities,” Rajapaksa said.

“The future belongs to those who sow ethnic harmony, to those who build fairness in society.”

The people of the island’s north and east have been freed from the hold of Tamil Tiger rebels and must be supported to re-integrate with the rest of the country, Rajapaksa said.

In a separate message to mark the occasion, Rajapaksa said minority Tamils will be assured of a safe future with equal rights.

“I pledge to you today, that these people who share our motherland, will be liberated and given the equality and all rights that they are entitled to, under the Constitution.” The Tamil Tiger separatist insurgency that had retarded the nation’s economic development was on the verge of being defeated, Rajapaksa said in a speech broadcast live islandwide to mark the country’s 61st independence celebrations Wednesday.

“Those people who left country because of the war, I invite them to return to their land of birth,” Rajapaksa.