Lakshman Kadirgamar was deeply committed to lasting solution - Mano Wijeyeratne

‘The late Lakshman Kadirgamar was deeply committed to finding a viable and lasting solution to Sri Lanka’s conflict but he also devoted his time to fighting the LTTE on the diplomatic front’, Enterprise Development Minister Mano Wijeyeratne said at a ceremony in Chennai recently, held to mark the second death anniversary of former Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar. Wijeyeratne was a special representative of President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the event.

The address: the late Hon. Lakshman Kadirgamar was a man who was committed to finding a viable and lasting solution to the internal conflict that has been plaguing our country for over two decades but he also believed in fighting the LTTE which was at the root cause of all the suffering that was being endured by all our nationals, irrespective of their race or religion. He believed that terrorism should be fought from various fronts and he focused his energy and devoted his time fighting the LTTE on the diplomatic front. He travelled widely, met world leaders and addressed various academic and prestigious forums and held regular consultations with think-tanks to share his concern that some day terrorism could become a global phenomena. He also believed that by reaching out to the international community, by sharing our experiences and exposing the horrendous atrocities committed by LTTE, the international community would rise to the occasion and play a vital role in curbing the activities of the LTTE, mainly its fund raising and other such activities which fuelled the LTTE’s war machinery.

I am indeed proud to say that the late Minister was able to achieve significant gains in these endeavours during his life time. He witnessed many countries, including, India, USA and the UK among others, ban and proscribe the LTTE as a terrorist organisation, followed by major crackdowns in many countries on their fund raising activities. Hon. Kadirgamar can be credited for not only creating awareness on the horrors of terrorism but also in exposing to the world the brutalities of the LTTE, for which he finally paid with his own life.

As much as he was respected and admired across the world, Hon. Kadirgamar was also loved by his own people for the contribution he has made to Sri Lanka’s political history following in the great tradition of Sri Lankan Tamil leaders such as Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan. An avid reader and a lover of books, Hon. Kadirgamar was troubled by the destruction of the Jaffna library, which was a treasure trove of invaluable books and manuscripts. After becoming the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Kadirgamar was instrumental in re-building and restoring the Jaffna library to its former glory. He also never lost an opportunity to highlight the contributions made by the Tamil community. In one of his speeches, he said, (quote) " every conceivable walk of life, in every sphere of national activity the Tamil people have made a very distinguished contribution" and he also said (quote) " name any field, and you find the Tamil people have made a very notable contribution".

At this juncture, I must also recall with gratitude the role the late Hon. Kadirgamar played in the UN declaring Vesak as a UN day of Observances thereby giving, pride of place to one of the world’s oldest religions in the UN, which was hailed by Buddhists living across the globe.

Like his colleague, Dr. Neelan Thiruchelvan, who also shared similar ideals and views, Hon. Kadirgamar was committed to finding a just, fair and negotiated solution to the ethnic conflict and contributed significantly to the drafting of the Constitutional Proposals from 1995-1997 and in 2000. As the representative of HE President Rajapaksa at this commemoration, I wish to state that, HE the President has never wavered from his desire to find a political solution to this problem with the consensus of all parties and communities concerned. I firmly believe that this can be accomplished and that the day is not far, when a lasting peace will return to our resplendent island home and that Hon. Kadirgamar and other Sri Lankan leaders like him, would not have sacrificed their lives in vain.

I join all those who are present here today in saluting this legendary leader and pray that his departed soul rests in peace.


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