Sri Lanka needs new phase in international diplomacy: President

June 3, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lanka needs a new diplomatic drive to win in the international arena, after defeating terrorism in the country, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said in a nationally televised address. “Many countries have helped us,” President Rajapaksa said. “We appreciate it very much.

“The hearts of our people will remember it.”

Government forces last month killed the entire top Tiger leadership including their chief Velupillai Prabhakaran, after cornering rebel remnants in a small strip of land on the north-east coast.

The defeat of the Tigers at the end of a two and a half year military campaign marked the end of the long-drawn ethnic conflict that had retarded the island’s economic growth. “We need to start a new phase in international diplomacy,” Rajapaksa said after formally receiving missives from service chief on the end of a war against Tamil Tiger separatists in an event attended by the diplomatic community in Colombo.

“The international arena has to be won. The terrorists were able to pressure us through various countries.”

In the latter stages of the military campaign relations between some Western nations and Sri Lanka deteriorated as they pressed for a l