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Home > News > PTI

SAARC: Rajapaksa speaks of LTTE attacks

April 03, 2007 14:29 IST

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Terming terrorism as a 'global menace', Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa said on Tuesday that no country can flourish without eradicating this problem, which has to be tackled 'politically'.

"Terrorism anywhere is terrorism. No country can flourish without addressing and eradicating terrorism. It is a global
menace," Rajapaksa said on the inaugural day of the 14th SAARC Summit.

"Terrorists could find a safe haven in other regions. We have to make a safe place for our people to live. It is also not lost on us that we have to grapple it at a political platform," he said, while underlining the need for a collective action plan to tackle the menace.

Drawing attention of the member nations to the recent attacks carried out by LTTE, he wanted a counter-terrorism strategy for the entire region.

"Boundaries don't matter at all. I wish to appeal to form a counter-terrorism strategy for the entire region to defeat terrorism. My government has placed great emphasis on LTTE, terrorism and to make Sri Lanka a safe place," he said.

Rajapaksa, who is attending the summit for the first time as President, spoke about the plight of majority of the people living in the rural areas of the region.

"It is a critical point that a large population is living in the rural environment. We have to take a pause and see what we have done for them. Life for them is far from satisfactory. Have we neglected the rural majority," he said.

"Poverty is our main concern. The region is affected by poverty. The leaders have enormous responsibility on their shoulders. We have to dedicate orselves to uplift the quality of the people living in rural areas," he said.

Rajapaksa said though the region had many commonalities in the past, today it was a 'region of contrast' with
disparities in GDP and income levels.

He also called for removing barriers to give a boost to trade in the region.

Rajapaksa said he was a strong believer of doing things practically and being 'action-oriented'.

"We must have a region-centric approach to make SAFTA work," he said.

The Sri Lankan President also talked about giving a fillip to intra-regional tourism, which he said will help in promoting the people-to-people contact. He quoted the famous emperor Ashoka and said the leaders must strive for the welfare of mankind.

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