Sri Lanka president calls for investment to revive war-battered economy

May 19, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapakse called for private sector investment and the return of the island’s diaspora to revive the economy of the country which he said had finally been freed of terrorism with the defeat of the Tamil Tigers. “The main obstacle to private sector investment, which had been terrorism, has now been removed and a climate created for investment,” Rajapakse told parliament in a speech televised nationwide to formally announce the end of military operations against the Tigers.

“I call on the private sector, both local and foreign, to invest in the north and east.”

The speech came a day after the government said all top Tamil Tiger leaders had been killed in a final battle with army commandos in the north-east.

Rajapakse also said he appeals to Sri Lankans, especially professionals, who migrated because of the ethnic conflict, to return to the island.

“I appeal to our professionals – our engineers, doctors, accountants and other professionals – to come back to their motherland and take part in its development.”

Rajapakse also said the government will move fast to find a lasting political solution to the ethnic problem but said there was no need for foreign intervention in such a settlement.