Sri Lanka president says democracy must not stop anti-terror fight

COLOMBO, Dec 7, 2006 (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s president has warned that democracy must not come in the way of battling terrorism, after his government moved to revive tough laws to bolster their battle against the Tamil Tigers.

In his televised address, broadcast overnight Wednesday, Mahinda Rajapakse said the Tamil Tigers were scuttling the chances of peace, and the nation had to choose between “terrorists” and the “common man”.

“Nobody can represent both these sides at any one time,” said the president, who on Wednesday invoked a tough anti-terror act while insisting the door was still open for talks with the rebels.

“We should make a firm commitment not to allow anyone to take these new regulations lightly… supporting terrorism is act of enmity towards both the country and the nation,” he said. “We are not ready to allow that.”

“The democracy that creates an opportunity for terrorism is a joke. It is no simple joke but a deadly joke. We already reddened our eyes through that joke,” the president said.

“We cannot move an inch forward other than by defeating this cruel terrorism that is intertwined with the common destiny of my country and the Sri Lankan nation,” Rajapakse said. “I am happy to be able to be co