Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake told the Asia Society on Friday that rebuilding Sri Lanka after 25 years of war would, among other things, require preventing a resurgence of the LTTE.
“Sri Lanka suffered for almost three decades of destruction from terrorism by the LTTE. Residual effects and related problems remain,” Mr. Wickremenayake told the Society.
He told the forum that resettling internally displaced persons (IDPs) is the largest post-war challenge. However, he made clear that a full resettlement would take time.
“You cannot have a solution overnight,” he stressed. He said an estimated 2,80,000 still remain in welfare centres, as a result of the conflict.
“It is not an easy task to provide welfare to these people all at once... yet we accepted this challenge. Today, the displaced are being resettled systematically and efficiently,” a statement put out by the government quoted as saying.
To expedite the recovery of the war-torn North and East, Mr. Wickremanayake called on the international community to boost investment in the country. “We need the support and cooperation from nations that can afford to,” he said. The Prime Minister said the government had already begun substantial reconstruction projects in the two regions.
The Prime Minister also called on nations to help Sri Lanka clear the large number of mines scattered throughout the North. “Terrorists have planted landmines in playgrounds, holy sites, farm fields, and roads,” he said. “We are not ready to push our people onto these death traps. Accept that we have a big problem and help us.”