Forget the ‘unfortunate’ past: Rajapaksa tells people of Jaffna

December 30th, 2008 - 3:10 pm ICT by IANS  

Colombo, Dec 30 (IANS) Vowing that his government would restore “all that was lost due to terrorism”, Sri Lanka’s President Mahinda Rajapaksa has asked the people of the northern Jaffna peninsula that it was time to forget “the unfortunate developments of the past”.President Rajapaksa made these remarks Monday night while addressing the people of Jaffna via satellite transmission on the occasion of an “educational and industrial exhibition” organised by the Sri Lanka Army.

“It is time for us to forget the unfortunate developments of the past. We shall take action to restore to the people of Jaffna and the north, all they have lost in the past,” Rajapaksa said.

The president’s office here said it was for the first time that a Sri Lankan head of the state has spoken “to the Tamil people in their own language”.

“All that was lost to you due to terrorism will be restored. It will not be long before your brothers and sisters who are trapped in areas such as Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu can be happy. That is when, just like the new dawn in the east, there will be the new spring in the north,” Rajapaksa was quoted as saying.

The ruling coalition of President Rajapaksa is determined to capture the rebel-held districts of Mullaitivu and Kilinochchi and the government troops are said to be operating on the outskirts of Kilinochchi town, 350 km north of here.

Despite shrinking territories, the LTTE has been putting up heavy resistance against the advancing troops, slowing down the progress of the government troops.

President Rajapaksa last week threatened to outlaw the Tamil Tigers as a terrorist group if it did not allow Tamils living in its control to move to government-held areas with the dawn of 2009.

The LTTE has been fighting against the Sri Lankan government for a quarter century to carve out a separate state for Tamils in the northern and eastern parts of the island.

Thousands have died in escalating fighting since late 2005.

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