Sri Lanka welcomes foreign aid

May 19th, 2012 - 2:50 pm ICT by IANS  

Colombo, May 19 (IANS) Sri Lanka is ready to accept development assistance from its foreign partners but will not tolerate foreign interference in its reconciliation process, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said Saturday.

Addressing the nation during official celebrations to mark the third anniversary of the end to a three-decade-long civil war, Rajapaksa reiterated that western policies of demilitarisation were unrealistic and could spark separatist movements, Xinhua reported.

The civil war that began in the 1980s ended with the death of Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) chief V. Prabhakaran in May 2009. More than 70,000 people were killed in the violence, according to western reports.

“There are people that want us to remove army camps from the north but they do not realize there are many others factions such as the Tamil diaspora and Tamil tiger sympathizers that are trying to create a separate state in Sri Lanka through other means,” Rajapaksa said.

He said such expectations would never be allowed and that he would do his utmost to protect the hard won peace achieved through the deaths of thousands of soldiers.

Rajapaksa, however, said there was a difference between countries that have been pressuring Sri Lanka to clean up its human rights record and other nations that have been giving large development loans since the end of the civil war.

“There have been several countries that helped us to win the war. We hope that these countries will continue to support us and we would accept it gladly,” he said.

Various ceremonies were organised around the country to celebrate the end of the war. Special bravery medals “Parama Bhuma Vibheeshana”, the highest honour given by the state, were presented to the next of kin of 15 soldiers who lost their lives. Rajapaksa also presided over a military parade.

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