19 July, 2024


President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s Full Speech To The UN General Assembly

Mr. President,
Secretary General,
Ladies and Gentlemen,


I am honoured to represent Sri Lanka at this august gathering today.

Let me first congratulate His Excellency Abdulla Shahid on being elected President of the 76th session of the General Assembly.

Mr. President, you have long been a friend of Sri Lanka. We look forward to working closely with you in the year ahead.

I also take this opportunity to convey our appreciation of His Excellency Volkan Bozkir’s stewardship of the previous session of the General Assembly, and to commend Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for his leadership in these difficult times.

Mr. President,

The COVID19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on humanity.

I sympathise deeply with all who have lost their loved ones during the pandemic.

I thank frontline healthcare and essential workers around the world for their dedication and commend the World Health Organisation for its crisis response.

I also greatly appreciate the rapid advances made by the scientific and medical communities in devising vaccines and treatment protocols to combat the virus.

At the same time, we must recognise that the challenges surrounding production, distribution, deployment and acceptance of vaccines must be overcome urgently if the spread of dangerous new virus strains is to be prevented.

Ensuring that everyone, everywhere, is vaccinated is the best way out of the pandemic.

Although still a developing nation, Sri Lanka has been very successful in its vaccination programme. We have already fully vaccinated nearly all those above the age of 30. Everyone over the age of 20 will be fully vaccinated by the end of October. We will start vaccinating children over 15 years of age in the near future.

The rapid progress of vaccinations was enabled by coordinated efforts between healthcare workers, Armed Forces and Police personnel, Government servants, and elected officials.

In collaboration with the WHO, Sri Lanka is establishing a Regional Knowledge Hub to facilitate exchange of lessons learnt from COVID19 and support countries to recover better.

Sri Lanka also benefitted greatly from financial and material support provided by bilateral and multilateral donors to manage the pandemic. I thank these nations and institutions for their generosity. The increased global cooperation visible during this ongoing crisis is greatly encouraging. However, there is still more to be done.

Mr. President,

The economic impact of the pandemic has been especially severe on developing countries.
This has placed the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals at considerable risk.

It is vital that more initiatives including development financing and debt relief be adopted through international mechanisms to support developing nations and help them emerge from this uncertain situation.

Sri Lanka too has suffered greatly due to the pandemic. In addition to the tragic loss of life, our economy has been deeply affected.

The lockdowns, together with general movement restrictions, reduced international travel, and slower global growth have affected nearly all sectors of our economy.

Tourism, one of Sri Lanka’s highest foreign exchange earners and a sector that supports nearly 14% of the population, has been devastated.

This industry, together with small and medium businesses in many other sectors, received Government support through interest moratoriums and other financial sector interventions.

Daily wage earners and low-income groups were also supported through grants of cash and dry rations during lockdowns, adding significantly to state expenditure.

In addition to their immediate impact, these economic repercussions of the pandemic have limited the fiscal space available to implement our development programmes.

Mr. President,

As devastating as the consequences of the pandemic have been to humanity, the world faces the even greater challenge of climate change in the decades to come.

As emphasised in the recent report by the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change, the unprecedented effect of human activity on the health of the planet is deeply worrying.

Addressing the grave threats posed by climate change and the loss of biodiversity requires decisive and urgent multilateral action.

As a climate-vulnerable country, Sri Lanka is deeply aware of the dangers of climate change.

Sri Lanka’s philosophical heritage, deeply rooted in Lord Buddha’s teachings, also emphasises the vitality of preserving environmental integrity.

It is in these contexts that Sri Lanka is a Commonwealth Blue Charter Champion and leads the Action Group on Mangrove Restoration.

Through the adoption of the Colombo Declaration on Sustainable Nitrogen Management, which seeks to halve nitrogen waste by 2030, Sri Lanka has also contributed to global efforts to reduce environmental pollution.

Having participated virtually in the Pre-Summit held in April, I trust that the United Nations Food Summit later this month will result in actionable outcomes to promote healthier, more sustainable, and equitable food systems globally.

Such outcomes will be crucial to human health as well as to the health of our planet.

Sustainability is a cornerstone of Sri Lanka’s national policy framework. Because of its impact on soil fertility, biodiversity, waterways and health, my Government banned the use of chemical fertilisers, pesticides, and weedicides earlier this year. Production and adoption of organic fertiliser, as well as investments into organic agriculture, are being incentivised.

I appreciate the encouragement received from many global institutions and nations for our efforts to create a more sustainable agriculture in Sri Lanka.

The conservation of our environment is one of our key national priorities.

We aim to increase forest cover significantly in the coming decades. We are also working to clean and restore over 100 rivers countrywide, and to combat river and maritime pollution. We have also banned single use plastics to support ecological conservation.

Sri Lanka recognises the urgent need to reduce use of fossil fuels and support decarbonisation. Our energy policy seeks to increase the contribution of renewable sources such as solar, wind and hydropower to 70% of our national energy needs by 2030.

Mr. President,

Sri Lanka welcomes the support of the international community as it engages in the task of reviving its economy and carrying out its national development programme. We intend to make full use of geostrategic location and our robust institutions, strong social infrastructure, and skilled workforce, to attract investment and broaden trade relationships.

My Government is focusing on extensive legal, regulatory, administrative and educational reforms to facilitate this, and to deliver prosperity to all our people.

Sri Lanka has enjoyed universal adult franchise since pre-Independence.

The democratic tradition is an integral part of our way of life.

My election in 2019 and the Parliamentary election in 2020 saw Sri Lankan voters grant an emphatic mandate to my Government to build a prosperous and stable country, and uphold national security and sovereignty.

In 2019, Sri Lanka experienced the devastation wrought by extremist religious terrorists in the Easter Sunday attacks. Before that, until 2009, it had suffered from a separatist terrorist war for 30 years. Terrorism is a global challenge that requires international cooperation, especially on matters such as intelligence sharing, if it is to be overcome. Violence robbed Sri Lanka of thousands of lives and decades of prosperity in the past half century.

My Government is committed to ensuring that such violence never takes place in Sri Lanka again.

We are therefore acting to address the core issues behind it.

Fostering greater accountability, restorative justice, and meaningful reconciliation through domestic institutions is essential to achieve lasting peace.

So too is ensuring more equitable participation in the fruits of economic development.

It is my Government’s firm intention to build a prosperous, stable and secure future for all Sri Lankans, regardless of ethnicity, religion, or gender.

We are ready to engage with all domestic stakeholders, and to obtain the support of our international partners and the United Nations, in this process.

However, history has shown that lasting results can only be achieved through home-grown institutions reflecting the aspirations of the people.

Sri Lanka’s Parliament, Judiciary and its range of independent statutory bodies should have unrestricted scope to exercise their functions and responsibilities.

Mr. President, Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates,

If, in keeping with the theme of our General Debate today, we are to truly build resilience through hope, we must all strive towards the common good.

It is the role of the United Nations to facilitate this by treating all sovereign states, irrespective of size or strength, equitably, and with due respect for their institutions and their heritage.

I request the United Nations and the international community to ensure the protection of the Buddhist heritage of Afghanistan.

I call on the member states of this august Assembly to work together in a spirit of true cooperation, generosity, goodwill, and mutual respect to foster a better and more sustainable future for all humanity.

Thank you.

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Latest comments

  • 4

    In 2012, Ambassador Robert Blake took Lankawe to UNHRC. That is an important event in Tamils’ history, which brought back some clout to Tamils to talk about a solution for their loss of political rights. As time was passing many countries joined the process. Many Human right advocates & INGOs became dedicated to the process. (No point in me listing the names as all the readers have memorized them all by now.) It led to Resolution 30/1. Though endorsed by Aanduwa, it was basically an empty resolution. So, in line with all other previous Lankawe pacts, it too fell flatly on the floor and vanished. Appe Aanduwa again kept building on that success, so it withdrew from Resolution 30/1, after threatening to withdraw from UNHRC. This led to Resolution 46/1. Here the UN indicated, contrary to the popular belief that the UN can directly get into a members’ citizens’ problems; Governments need not to be the middleman always. (This trend is so important because the UN is no longer only a peacemaker in the wars or Human Rights advocate, but now it is in the health, education, culture and hereditary, religion, environment, even to some extent, it gets involved in sports on an international level. So, a government that separate its citizens from UN is denying them their naturals basic needs for their life.

    • 2

      Today Dr Merkel will go to her retirement. The kind of real good leaders write the history while our ballige puthas…. push our innocient people from frying pan to fire.
      Majority of people in srilanka expect MR to go out of their sight today, but Dr Merkel ruled country for 16 years, but still there are masses that want her to be the leader.

  • 3

    On another occasion Hitler King threatened that if anybody wants, he can turn back in as the old Defense Secretary, too. Hitler King proscribed two times the diaspora groups, illegally using UN resolution 1373. Hitler King has now invited diaspora to negotiations to end Ambassador Blake’s UNHRC process. King said in his invitation that separation is not coming back again, so the military solution he imposed on Tamils is going to be the only settlement for Tamils. This can become permanent only if he foils the investigation pending in UNHRC (to be referred to UN SC).
    Let’s look at some matters behind this invitation. China started to capture Lankawe, starting from Nuraicholai’s renewed contract, by the Old King, for $500M. The original contract by CBK was for $250M. We never heard why the original contract was cancelled and then why it was restarted at much higher cost. Chinese Pahadu tower and Colombo Pong Cing too sustained heavy penalties, as much as a total of $300M. The high cost Nuraicholai never worked properly. The Old King threatened China that it would employ India to repair the machines. That is where the Lankawe’s Chinese Slavery started. China wanted to show Appe Aanduwa that they were not Tamils. About 50 government computers shut down. Colombo Pong Cing was posed on the Old King.

  • 0

    Later on, Ranil paid for the attempt of Pong Cing contract cancellation $280m additional cost and the Hangbangtota port & 5 villages land & another $15m Pahadu Tower. To feed the developments on the barren land, Hangbangtota, the Kerawalapitiya power station and Uma Oya project were started. Una Oya was a total failure. Then the Nil Wala – Gin Ganga project started and that is going through the UNESCO’s Reserved Forest, Sinharaja. Those protested against this project were severely reprimanded. But earlier when the American Dole company opened a Banana Plantation in the less important Somawathi Reserve, near Trinco, Old King used Coolies to have it closed. Kerawalapitiya power station is near to Colombo, already started to produce power. There is a news in Media that the rest of the project will be developed by an American Company. That is an unbelievable magnitude of change. This makes many questions here, but in the interest of quickly moving to Hitler King’s “invitation to treat the diaspora in negotiations” we will not try to check to see what brought this change.

  • 0

    War Crime, Genocide & Human Rights crime are international crimes. These come under the UN purview. Any improperly investigated Human right questions will fall into the hands of the UN. We know ICC has its way of picking the cases too. These days it seems the UN is involved in other international crimes too, like Drugs & contraband, Money Laundering, Foreign exchange fraud. Though the UN is not directly prosecuting those in many numbers, the UN is working behind the scenes. Further, Human right violations can be brought by specific countries under their universal Jurisdiction. So, while these matters are on the background, King had invited Diaspora Tamil to save him from any war crime accusation. The background information suggests that diaspora can act on one side, that is to investigate the crime, but they do not have any say on the part of “not to investigate the crime”. It is fruitless for King to call Diaspora Tamils to help him. Though Sumanthiran like Guys can play double games and spoil the chance of Tamils getting a reasonable justice, those guts may not be able to take the anger of the Relatives of Missing persons or 90,000 widowed women. If international investigation doesn’t materialize, those guys will be forced to resign and leave politics.

  • 0

    The International Investigations is in the interest in UN, UNHRC, INGOs, Human rights activist Democratic countries, International Tamil organizations, TN government, TNA, UP Country political formations, Tamil speaking Muslims, many academics and for many others. So, diaspora can campaign for the investigation, but going against the investigation is not possible for them. Remember that Hakeem and Rishard went with cinema actresses and witnessed on the UNHRC that Muslims were happier then, than at any time in history, but those statements didn’t have any hold there? So, there is no one single person, or group of diaspora has the ability to witness for the King and spoil the investigation. TGTE is active in distracting international governments by digging for an untimely referendum. Aanduwa is not worried about referendum, but it is concerned about War Crime/ Genocide investigation. King standing in New York City & calling for its support may mean that it is hoping to attract these silly referendum gangs to its support. King can put hope on anybody, but the Sinhala Middle Class’s attractive protest in front of the UN would have made him feel disheartened by his hope.
    I took some time on this. I owe an explanation to my readers. Sorry! Seeing the Sinhala Middle class’s interest in seeking justice for all at UN, I felt an obligation to explain them sincerely the Tamils’ situation. That is why!

  • 3


  • 0

    Vistas of prosperity need implementation. Ah,….there’s the rub.

    • 2

      ramona therese fernando

      Their Vista is limited to their clan and cronies.

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