Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has asked the people to be united in their fight against terrorism and communalism to ensure peace in the country even as fierce clashes in the northern parts of the island state killed at least 14 LTTE cadres and one soldier.
"We are now swimming upstream against racism. Our nation is now fully prepared and accustomed to handle and endure the situation as a multi-racial society," Rajapaksa said.
The president, who was attending a function yesterday to mark the commencement of work on the Chinese-funded multi-million dollar 'National Performing Arts Theatre (NPAT)' in Colombo said efforts must be made to establish an integrated society.
"We must establish a society and an environment where the rich and diverse cultures of all communities could be enmeshed together, appreciated and cherished as our very own assets and treasures," he said.
The president said cultural endeavours would help in a better understanding among communities.
Meanwhile, in continuing battles in restive northern Sri Lanka, security forces killed four Tamil Tiger rebels in Periyamadu and Navathkulam in Vavuniya yesterday.
In another incident, one soldier was reported killed in Nedunkandal in Mannar. Separately, three militants were shot dead at Muhamalai in Jaffna peninsula in fierce fighting yesterday, the Defence Ministry said.
As many as four rebels were shot dead and eight others wounded in clashes in Kurunkandai in Mannar yesterday, the Media Centre for National Security (MCNS) said. It said one LTTE militant was also killed in Vediyamurippu in Mannar on the same day.