Your Excellency President Mohamed Nasheed, Madam Laila Ali, the Acting High Commissioner of Sri Lanka, Minster of State for Foreign Affairs, and Colonel Ampemohotti of the Sri Lankan Defence Forces and the Chief of Defence of Maldives, Ladies and Gentlemen;
We are extremely honoured that we have the group of Sri Lankan war veterans here with us. It is our privilege to honour your visit to the Maldives.
You all know that Maldives and Sri Lanka have enjoyed very close friendship for many years. We are bound by ties of not only friendship but also linguistic and cultural history. Both of our countries have remained close to each other for many years. In the Maldives we have watched the situation very closely. And because of this close friendship that we have, whatever that has affected Sri Lanka has also affected us. Whatever hurt Sri Lankan brothers and sisters have also hurt us.
Therefore today, we rejoice and we celebrate the fact that the war in Sri Lanka has finally come to an end. We therefore, commemorate His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksa, the government of Sri Lanka, the armed forces and its people for this very important success and achieving this milestone.
Clearly, many Sri Lankans have suffered for so many years. I’m sure most of the families have suffered in this process. Many families have lost their sons and daughters, their brothers and sisters to the war. And so, it must be a huge relief for everyone that we have now achieved this success.
Every war leaves its scars. And today, the physical disabilities that many Sri Lankan soldiers suffer is one loss. I know how hard it must be for yourselves and your families. But there are many others who are also feeling the scars of the war. They are physical and emotional. And it will take time to heal. I think, once the war is over, now is the stage for building the peace and to heal the country.
We are confident that the government of Sri Lanka, the civil society and the people, are now embarked on this very difficult journey to achieve permanent peace and healing. We are aware that there are many people who are displaced. And I’m very glad to hear from His Excellency the Acting High Commissioner, that within a year these people will be resettled in their homes. Now Sri Lanka is also set for peace and development. Sri Lanka is endowed with many natural resources, most of all its people who are well educated and hard working.
We have depended on Sri Lankan brother and sisters for many aspects of development in the Maldives. As we witness today, we have many of you who are here in the country productively employed and contributing to the economy of this country. And we thank you for your contribution and we welcome you here in the Maldives. Now, the development in Sri Lanka,
I think, will thrive. I think resources will come and Sri Lanka’s development will now take off.
We look forward to greater prosperity in Sri Lanka that will also have a positive impact on the economy of the Maldives. So, once again I welcome you to the Maldives. It is our pleasure to have you here. We hope that you will enjoy your very short visit. I wish you were staying longer.
On behalf of His Excellency the President and the government, I very warmly welcome you.
Than you very much.