23rd September 2010, www.bloomberg.com
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa said he has set the nation on a course toward political reconciliation with the Tamil minority and economic recovery following a three-decade civil war.
“The entire focus of our nation is now on building a lasting peace, healing wounds, ensuring prosperity and guaranteeing the rights of the whole nation to live in harmony,” Rajapaksa said in a speech today to the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
Sri Lankan soldiers defeated the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in May last year, ending their struggle for a separate homeland. The war killed more than 100,000 and has left about 76,000 Tamils displaced.
“No nation on earth can wish Sri Lanka’s Tamil community more good fortune than Sri Lanka itself,” Rajapaksa said. “Sri Lanka has already returned over 90 percent of the internally displaced persons to their original villages that were previously riddled with landmines and provided the essential infrastructure necessary to resume normal life.”
The economy expanded 8.5 percent in the three months ended June 30 from a year earlier, the fastest pace since 2002, the statistics department said on Sept. 16.
Rajapaksa said the aim of his second term in office, which begins in two months, was to make Sri Lanka “one of the top 30 countries for doing business by 2014” and to double per capita income by 2016.
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