President Ranil Wickremesinghe revealed his intention to address the ethnic problem in the country while implementing the agreement with the International Monetary Fund.
Noting that discussions are currently underway and that he hopes to reach a mutually agreeable solution by the end of this year, President Wickremesinghe emphasised the importance of moving forward while respecting and protecting the rights of all communities, including the majority Sinhalese, Tamil, Muslim, and Burgher minorities without marginalizing anyone.
Addressing the United National Party May Day celebrations held at the Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium in Colombo yesterday (01) virtually, the President said that the country should not focus on short-term politics but instead to think about the future, specifically 2048, and work towards making Sri Lanka a developed country.
He extended an invitation to all UNP members to transform the party into one that breaks free from traditional politics and charts a new path towards progress for the country.
He emphasized the need for all parties to come together and work towards a resolution that benefits all communities in Sri Lanka.
"To the Tamil parties, I say that it is futile to distance oneself from this endeavor. If we are to address the issues faced by the Tamil community in this country, let us collaborate within this system, particularly in the Parliament as part of the government," the President said.
In his address, President Wickremesinghe also reflected on Sri Lanka’s history as a country with the second strongest economy in Asia. He credited the progress made by leaders such as Mr. D.S. Senanayake and J.R. Jayawardene who took the country forward with the open economy.
Furthermore, the President highlighted his commitment to rebuilding Sri Lanka according to President Jayawardene’s program. With the support of the UNP and its members, he is determined to make Sri Lanka a stronger and more prosperous nation.
Highlighting that the party’s policy is to always be truthful with the people, President Wickremesinghe recalled that the UNP was the first party to state in its election manifesto the need to seek assistance from the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank to address the economic crisis, while other parties were making promises that they could not keep. The President acknowledged that the UNP had to face criticism for its stance and was reduced to a national list seat but stood by its policy.
"Prior to assuming the presidency, I reflected on one thing: the United National Party prioritizes the welfare of the country. In fact, in the United National Party’s 2020 election manifesto, we explicitly stated our intention to seek assistance from the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, with a goal of securing $7 billion.
As a party, we were the only ones who mentioned these critical points. On the other hand, other parties made empty promises they could not fulfil despite knowing the existence of the country’s economic problem.
After honestly sharing our party’s policies, the United National Party ended up in the national list. Our policy is to be transparent with the people, even if it means conveying unpleasant truths," he added.