No one has to tell us what to do: Rajapaksa

Colombo: Sri Lanka is ready to walk an extra mile to establish permanent peace in the country through reconciliation and does not need any external guidance, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said today. Addressing the Expo 2012 here, Rajapaksa said, "Sri Lanka is in the midst of peace won at great sacrifice. We are progressing on the path of peace and reconciliation. Our government is committed to walk that extra mile to establish permanent peace through reconciliation.

"That is our commitment to our people and no one has to tell us what to do," he said in a veiled reference to the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) resolution adopted last week that censured Sri Lanka on its human rights record during three-decade-long civil war. The resolution asked Sri Lanka to work towards expeditious implementation of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) recommendations.

Sri Lanka dubbed the resolution as devious Western nation action to undermine the island at the behest of the pro-LTTE diaspora. The government has publicly vowed to ignore the resolution. The president said the Expo 2012 was taking place after a lapse of 15 years, "This gap of 15 years requires some explanation. It is nearly half the period when this country suffered the worst brutalities of terrorism. It is the period when business turned away from us, because of the forces of terror that had some support from certain countries". Rajapaksa cited the doubling of foreign direct investment in Sri Lanka as the dividends of his military campaign which ended the LTTE`s separatist moves. "This is why foreign investors are ready to place their trust in Sri Lanka", he said.

"It is our conducive business environment coupled with a good image abroad and the rapidly increasing tourist arrivals in itself a barometer of confidence that have brought international hotel chains such as Shangri-la, Sun City and Sheraton to invest in Sri Lanka while other investments in a diverse portfolio of opportunity are in the pipeline". Rajapaksa`s governments laments that the international community driven by political considerations pay little respect to his achievements since the end of the military conflict.