Peace | Speeches

Apology to the Victims of Black Friday and the Nation

The 21st Anniversary of Black July

Colombo, Sri Lanka

June 23, 2004

I would like to first welcome all of you here today on this occasion when we commemorate one of the most shameful crimes ever perpetrated on this nation. Today is the 21st anniversary of what we commonly call ‘Black July’ of 1983. We know what occurred on that day and I don’t think I need to remind anyone of you here of the details of that day and the week that followed...

State and Terrorism

Muhammad Zafrullah Khan Memorial Lecture

King's College, London

December 12, 2012

Terrorism poses the most serious military challenge to the modern world. It is no more contained within the boundaries of one State. It has an extensive global outreach. Terrorist organizations born in one country have the capacity to attack the furthest lands. The most militarized States have not been impervious to the activities of the terrorist....

Inequality and Terrorism

Thirteenth Emmanuel Onyechere Osigwe Anyiam-Osigwe Lecture

Lagos, Nigeria

November 30, 2012

I wish to express my gratitude to the Osigwe Anyiam-Osigwe Foundation for giving me the privilege of being with you today, to deliver the Thirteenth Emmanuel Onyechere Osigwe Anyiam-Osigwe Lecture. I am also glad, this has given me the opportunity to visit Nigeria for the first time. I must hasten to add, I am not a stranger to Nigeria since that I have read much about Nigeria, its people, its politics and I am also familiar with some of your great writers....

The Absence of War is Not Peace

University of Virginia Global Perspectives on Democracy

Charlottesville, Virginia, USA

November 4, 2011

I would like to present some thoughts on Conflict, the resolution of conflict and Peace building.

These subjects have been dealt with since time immemorial, for human conflict has existed since the dawn of human society. It remains a most pressing problem in our Age, because Conflict – Intra State as well as Inter State, continues to bedevil our world...

Economic Development, Inclusive Societies and Peace

Justice Palakidnar Memorial Oration

Colombo, Sri Lanka

July 24, 2011

We are all aware of what is meant by Development and Peace, and somewhat familiar with the term inclusive societies.

While Development implies many aspects, it involves mainly the action of building physical or economic and social infrastructure, as well as developing human resources – highways; transport; electricity and water supply, communications, housing, providing incentives for the development of agriculture, industries and commerce as well as health services, education and skills development and indeed employment.

Elements of the Peace Process

The Asia Society

New York, New York, USA

September 14, 2005

It is a pleasure to be here at the Asia Society once again. Over the past eleven years as President of Sri Lanka, I have had the occasion to visit New York City, several times. During these visits, I have also invariably visited your Society and addressed you. My visits to New York and the United Nations have become inextricably linked to my having to deliver a talk at the Asia Society. ..

Women and Development

State Visit to the People's Republic of China

Beijing, China

August 29, 2005

I am honoured to have been invited to make the keynote address at this historic city of Beijing. I recall vividly my mother the late Sirimavo Bandaranaike, Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, addressing the first UN World Conference on Women in 1975 in Mexico City, 30 years ago, as the world’s first woman Head of Government. I wish to express my gratitude to President Hu Jintao for your words of encouragement to us women of the world....

Development and the Peace Process

Meeting of the Religious Committee of the NACPR

Colombo, Sri Lanka

May 3, 2005

The Nationl Advisory Council for Peace and Reconciliation was established six months ago. After the inaugural meeting of the NACPR, its three committees namely, the Religious Committee, Political Committee and the Civil Society Committee have met and held several discussions. I need not repeat here the main objective of this Advisory Council as you are well aware of the objectives...

Peace Lies in Negotiations

Inaugural Meeting of the NACPR

Colombo, Sri Lanka

October 4, 2004

On this important occasion, I would like to thank all of you present here for having accepted my invitation to participate in the National Advisory Council for Peace and Reconciliation (NACPR). We have here with us the Mahanayake Theros, as well as religious leaders from all the religious communities and leaders of important political parties represented in Parliament. ..

Peace and Conflict Resolution through Dialogue

United Nations General Assembly

New York, New York, USA

September 21, 2004

I congratulate you on your assumption of the high office of President of the Fifty-Ninth Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations and assure you of Sri Lanka’s fullest support and cooperation as you undertake the onerous responsibility of presiding over the deliberations of this august assembly. I also thank the outgoing President, Honourable Julian Hunte, for his able and efficient conduct of the Fifty Eighth Session...

Conflict Resolution and Peace Building: Lessons from Sri Lanka

The Asia Society

New York, New York, USA

September 20, 2004

My present responsibilities permit me little time for such pleasurable activities as being amongst thinkers and intellectuals like you and the members of the Asia Society who are present here today. It is indeed a great pleasure for me to be here and I wish to express my appreciation to the President of the Asia Society, Madam Vishakha N.Desai, and its members for inviting me to speak to you this evening...

Apology to the Victims of Black Friday and the Nation

The 21st Anniversary of Black July

Colombo, Sri Lanka

June 23, 2004

I would like to first welcome all of you here today on this occasion when we commemorate one of the most shameful crimes ever perpetrated on this nation. Today is the 21st anniversary of what we commonly call ‘Black July’ of 1983. We know what occurred on that day and I don’t think I need to remind anyone of you here of the details of that day and the week that followed...

"Long journey to transform this temporary ceasefire into a genuine and sustainable peace"

National Hero's Commemoration Day

Mailapitiya, Kandy, Sri Lanka

June 7, 2004

I am particularly proud of the opportunity at being able to hold this memorial ceremony to commemorate our War Heroes for their highest and dedicated service and participate in it on this 7th of June. All of us are gathered here are present to commemorate the greatest sacrifice, the sacrifice of life that is available to man, by nearly 23,000 Heroes of War in the Armed Forces and the Police for the defence and indivisibility of our country and the defence of its people...

Building One United Nation

56th Anniversary of Independence

Colombo, Sri Lanka

February 4, 2004

We are here today to celebrate the 56th Anniversary of our beloved Motherland gaining Independence from colonial rule. At the outset I, on behalf of the whole nation, wish to pay homage to our past leaders who so selflessly worked to secure that noble victory and to the thousands of other patriotic citizens who sacrificed their lives in war and those who shed their blood, sweat and tears to gain that priceless victory....

Deciphering the Root Cause of Discord

Address to the Nation

Colombo, Sri Lanka

October 24, 2002

I address you today at a moment when our country faces many challenges. On one hand we hear bells ringing out for Peace. We have reason once again to hope for a final settlement to the ethnic problem of Sri Lanka, which has dogged the life of every Sri Lankan for nearly two decades. Many positive measures are being implemented with success, with the objective of relaxing the tensions, which existed between the antagonists. The Government is doing the maximum possible to implement its part of the Ceasefire Agreement signed by the Prime Minister and the LTTE leaders....

Forging Ethnic Harmony and National Reconciliation

Inauguration of the National Consultation on Ethnic Reconciliation

Colombo, Sri Lanka

July 26, 2002

At the outset I would like to thank all of you having accepted my invitation to be present here today, at the launch of the National Consultation on Ethnic Reconciliation in Sri Lanka. This is not anything new when we look at the recent history of our country. It could be called the second major attempt at forging ethnic harmony and national reconciliation. The first attempt by any Government was the ‘Sudu Nelum’ movement which was initiated 7 years ago. This is another step taken along the path of ethnic harmony, reconciliation and finally peace in our land...

Building a Pluralistic Society: Managing Change & Diversity

Madharvrao Scindia Memorial Lecture

New Delhi, India

April 24, 2002

I am deeply honoured to have been invited to deliver the first Madhavrao Scindia Memorial Lecture. This lecture is my tribute to a man whose values I share, whose vision of politics as a commitment to the welfare of people is my own, whose belief that no effort must be spared to encourage, protect and strengthen liberal demonstration and secular values in a pluralist State, I emphasize and commend to all our peoples who have the privilege of living in this great region of the world. ..

Democracy vs. Terrorism

Address to the Oxford Union

Oxford, England

November 21, 2001

I Mr. President, Members of the Union,

Thank you for inviting me here tonight. It is a great honour for me.

I have come to Britain to have discussions with your Government about a variety of matters...

Achieving Peace and Democracy

Independence Day Celebrations

Colombo, Sri Lanka

February 4, 2001

"It was 53 years ago that our beloved motherland regained independence after 443 years of colonial subjugation. We have gathered here today to commemorate a day of pride for the entire Sri Lankan nation...

A New Constitution Designed to End the Ethnic War

Address to Parliament

Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte, Sri Lanka

August 3, 2000

Mr. Speaker today is indeed a historic day.. It is also a special day in the history of a great people, with a history of over thousands of years. Mr. Speaker this Constitution is designed to end the ethnic war which totally destroyed the lives of the people of this county. A war which has been the curse impeding the forward march of this country. ..

Finding a Lasting Solution to the Ethnic Conflict

52nd Anniversary of the Independence of Sri Lanka

Colombo, Sri Lanka

February 4, 2000

Let me begin today by giving thanks to the people of Sri Lanka. On the 21st of December, 1999, the people of this nation gave me a new mandate to govern as President for a second term.

I am deeply aware of the political maturity and awareness of our people. The fact that they re-elected the PA candidate braving horrendous incidents of bombing and open intimidation of voters by the LTTE, against voting for me in some parts of the country, is a testimony to this maturity...

"Our vow and our destiny are that peace must reign"

Second Presidential Inaugural Address

Colombo, Sri Lanka

December 22, 1999

It is with an intense and an immeasurably deep sense of gratitude to all my Sri Lankan brothers and sisters, who have once again reposed their faith in me as their President, that I humbly accept this electoral victory that has been miraculously bestowed upon me...

Ethnic Conflict Needs a Final Solution

Presidential Election Speech as Candidate for People's Alliance

Colombo, Sri Lanka

December 14, 1999

The time has come for all of us collectively to focus our minds on the most important question that faces Sri Lanka today. The ethnic conflict in our country has gone on for almost two decades bringing great misery to our people and impeding economic growth. This war has seriously eroded our moral values. The cult of violence has taken root in our society. It is only a common effort by all our communities that can find the final solution...

An Era of Peace and Prosperity

Inaugural Meeting of the Sudu Nelum

Colombo, Sri Lanka

July 8, 1995

We are aware that the Sudu Nelum Flower - White Lotus - symbolizes the lofty values of peace and purity and prosperity. May I join all of you who are assembled here in expressing the hope and wish that it will be possible to usher in an era of peace and prosperity - an era of genuine brotherhood - to our country now pushed in to the abyss of hopelessness through separatism and a cruel war...