President Maithripala Sirisena has requested for more time from United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for Sri Lanka to achieve holistic reconciliation. Addressing editors and heads of media institutions in Colombo today, he said that during his meeting with Ban he had pointed out that the country has come out of a long conflict, and hence he needs time to help the country move forward ‘slowly’ to bring about reconciliation.
“I told the United Nations Secretary General that as the country has just come out of a conflict, we need time to move slowly. So I asked him to give me some time,” Sirisena told Media Heads and Newspaper Editors at the President’s House.
Sirisena also said the media should not mock or ridicule a noble concept like reconciliation as that would give a wrong interpretation about a positive concept to the younger generation. “There is media freedom today and it is up to you to crticise anybody. However, the media should not ridicule noble concepts like reconciliation by stating that reconciliation is an international conspiracy to divide the country. Such misinterpretations will give a wrong twist to the real meaning of reconciliation and mislead the younger generation,” he said.
During his meeting with the Secretary General, Sirisena had explained the steps taken to strengthen democracy through the 19th Amendment to the Constitution and the establishment of Constitutional Council and Commissions. He also briefed Ban about the reconciliation process, return of land in the North to original owners, resettlement, rehabilitation and development.
The President added that the government’s intention is to return the remaining privately-owned lands in the North to rightful owners within the next three months. While land have been returned to the original owners, the state land is to be given to those who are landless and living in welfare centers or with friends and relatives, he said.