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Philadelphia Inquirer: How Sri Lanka Defeated Terrorism

January 10, 2010


Mahinda Rajapaksa, president of Sri Lanka, writes how the island-nation fought terrorism for twenty-five years and is now turning attention toward winning the peace.

After more than 25 years of combating terrorism, Sri Lanka finally achieved peace in May 2009. But the costs - more than 75,000 deaths - were high and the struggle arduous. To this day, few acknowledge the difficulty of defeating what the FBI had described as "one of the most dangerous and deadliest outfits in the world."

Although the world too easily ignores the importance of Sri Lanka's achievement, some of America's elected officials are starting to understand. A Senate Foreign Relations Committee report, issued last month, hailed our victory as "one of the few instances in modern history in which a terrorist group had been defeated militarily."

Sri Lanka's struggle is a victory for global democracy and demonstrates that a workable model exists for eradicating terrorism, a model from which the international community may yet gain valuable insight.

Now the hard work of reconstruction begins. We are redoubling our efforts to rejuvenate democracy across our country, revive the economy, and reconcile any differences. As the global community watches, Sri Lanka recognizes the need for transparency of action. Our aim is to deliver a prosperous and peaceful future to every Sri Lankan, whatever their race, culture, or religion.

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