Colombo, Sri Lanka (BBN)- Calling for an end to “old enmities,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrived in Sri Lanka on Friday. days after the Government declared that its military operation against the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) has ended.
“We are here at a defining moment in Sri Lanka’s history,” Mr. Ban said in a statement after touching down on the South Asian island nation. “A long and terrible conflict has come to an end. Now is the time for the nation to unite and build a just and lasting peace.”
He expressed his deep concern over the safety and welfare of the at least 300,000 people uprooted by the clashes. “I hope my visit today can help begin a process of national recovery, renewal and reconciliation for all Sri Lankans,” he said. “That is why I am here.”
The Secretary-General, who will meet with the country’s President, Mahinda Rajapaksa, and other senior officials tomorrow, said that he seeks to further progress in three areas.
Earlier Friday, Mr. Ban’s Chief of Staff, Vijay Nambiar, who has been in the country for several days, told reporters in the capital, Colombo, that the national reconciliation process must be “all-inclusive” and address the legitimate aspirations of Tamils and other minorities.
BBN/SS/SI/AD-23May09-11:19 am (BST)