President slams Western interventions in Iraq, Libya

... agrees with Trump that killing Saddam, Gaddafi caused terrorism world over


By Shamindra Ferdinando

President Maithripala Sirisena has faulted the Western powers for their intervention in Iraq and Libya leading to many deaths and widespread destruction.

President Maithripala Sirisena also pointed out the culpability on the part of the then British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who joined the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Western powers intervened and helped rebels to overthrow Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi during 2011 through overt and covert operations and plunged the country into chaos ever since.

President Sirisena said so while addressing a group of Buddhist monks on Saturday. Military action had claimed hundreds of thousands of lives in Iraq, Libya and other conflicts caused by Western interventions, President Maithripala Sirisena said,

Since the change of government in January, 2015, President Maithripala Sirisena had never made any reference to US-UK

led military interventions in Arab countries.

Blair had now regretted military action, President Maithripala Sirisena said. He was commenting on a statement attributed to Blair on the basis of recently released Iraq Inquiry Report.

President Sirisena also endorsed recent declaration made by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump that the killing of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi on Dec 30, 2006 and Oct. 20, 2011, respectively had caused terrorism world over.

Western interventions caused terrorism, the President said, adding that recent incident in Dhaka was a case in point.

The President vowed that he would not accept foreign judges in a local judicial mechanism to investigate alleged accountability issues during eelam war IV.

Alleging that a section of the media had propagated lies in respect of inclusion of foreign judges, President Sirisena emphasized that the Constitution wouldn’t allow that. The President said: "Foreign judges cannot be brought in unless we amend the Constitution. I’ll never agree to amend the Constitution to pave the way for foreign judges. I’ll not allow foreign judges to hear cases here."

The President said the UN hadn’t revealed its intention to drag Sri Lanka before a war crimes court and therefore the government was currently engaged in addressing issues raised by the OHCHR (Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights).

Commenting on long standing problems and difficulties experienced by the Tamil community in the Northern Province, President Maithripala Sirisena said such issues couldn’t be resolved by having foreign judges in a local judicial mechanism. The President stressed the failure on the part successive governments to address problems, particularly in respect of development.

The President pointed out that the governments hadn’t appointed adequate number of ministers representing the Northern Province. An active minister was required for each district to accelerate development, he added.

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