US President Barak Obama has urged newly re-elected President Mahinda Rajapaksa to lead Sri Lanka towards national reconciliation in the post-Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) era and heal the divisions created by conflict.
The reconciliation, Obama added, should have the essential elements of respect for human rights and rule of law.
In a congratulatory message to Rajapaksa on the 62nd anniversary of independence, Obama said for the first time on over a generation, Sri Lanka was not under the shadow of terrorism.
Obama said: “The recent end of the war creates a historic opportunity for Sri Lanka to heal the divisions of conflict, and build a society that offers equality and opportunity for all. For the first time on over a generation, Sri Lanka is not under the shadow of terrorism.’’
He added: “I urge you to seize this opportunity to provide the leadership that will allow all Sri Lankans to come together and meet their aspirations to live in a country that is rooted in tolerance, respect for human rights, accountability, the rule of law, and freedom of the press- all elements essential for national reconciliation.’’
In his Independence Day speech on Thursday, Rajapaksa called on minority ethnic Tamils to work with the government to settle their differences.
He made it clear however added there would be no self-rule for them.