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'Engage constructively' says Gota to West

The Sri Lankan defence secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa told governments in the West to "engage constructively" with the Sri Lankan government.

Speaking at a seminar organised by the Lakshman Kadiragamar Institute for International Relations and Strategic Studeies and the Pakistan High Commission, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said:

“Instead of narrowing the scope of their engagement with Sri Lanka because of many misinterpretations and lobbying by special interest groups in their own countries, the nations should engage constructively with the Government. It is only then that they will see for themselves the good work being carried out here despite significant constraints,”

“During the course of long conflicts, people will leave the country and seek asylum abroad. Over the years, these asylum seekers will end up getting citizenship in these foreign countries and become a powerful political voice there. For example, the large number of Tamils who migrated to Canada, the United States, Britain, Australia and many European nations during the past three decades now comprises a powerful lobby in those countries,”

“In a democratic country, when the security situation and restrictions are relaxed, the allies of the terrorist groups can even work through democratic political parties to propagate the same ideologies that led to militancy in the first place. They may work towards rousing the ideas and feelings of people once again to lead them down the path to armed violence. Any responsible Government needs to be watchful of such developments.”

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