09th November 2017 21:41:06 Hours
HE the President Maithripala Sirisena, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, perhaps making a record for the first time in the annals of the Army history addressed a representative gathering of more than 350 Commanding Officers (COs), Adjutants and Regimental Sergeant Majors (RSMs) of the Army this evening (9) at the Colombo Army Hospital auditorium.
Mr Kapila Waidyaratne, Secretary Defence and Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake, Commander of the Army extended a warm welcome to the President on his arrival at the premises and ushered him to the main auditorium.
Major General Dampath Fernando, Deputy Chief of Staff in accordance with military traditions afterwards saluted the day’s Chief Guest and reported the gathering to the day’s distinguished guest, HE the President Maithripala Sirisena before the commencement of the proceedings.
Seconds later, Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake, Commander of the Army in a brief address extended a warm welcome to the President and invited him to take the floor.
In his address to those three digit number attendees, the President thanked the Secretary Defence and the Commander of the Army for arranging this meet and called upon each one to continue with their dedicated roles for the sake of the country.
“You all have dedicatedly come forward to safeguard the country and also in times of national disasters all the time at the risk of your own lives, for which we are indebted to you. In the most recent past, you all stood by the nation and took the lead when national disasters, epidemics, landslides, etc struck us and I need your continued support for development of our country as we march forward as a peaceful society, rich with co-existence, reconciliation, harmony and understanding.”
“As long as I remain the head of the country, I assure you that none of you would be allowed to testify before any war tribunals. Instead, such errant Army personnel, if any can be produced before Courts and tried according to the existing law of the country. Unlike the disgruntled politicians and some retired Army personnel allege saying that the War Heroes would be tried and punished, I, as the President of this country would not allow anyone be subjected to interrogations of foreign judges as such. Therefore you should not be misled by those baseless allegations and misleading statements.”
He emphasized that no Human Rights organizations in the world be allowed to pressurize the Sri Lanka Army on whatever the grounds and the UN has been informed of our capacity to find solutions to our own problems without any interference as a sovereign State.
“I also appeal all of you to believe in me and not to be misled by statements, rumours and our detractors. I commend all of you for the excellent services you rendered during the times of natural disasters and request you to extend your best cooperation for sustenance of reconciliation and peace in the country as a nation. I also wish to insist that unlike in the past, no War Hero’s overseas visa would be denied in future and will ensure their overseas visits are facilitated without any hindrance.”
He also underlined the need for everyone to maintain the hard-earned peace for the country’s prosperity and assured that the government would do everything possible to sustain the status-quo and make the Sri Lankan Army one of the best in the world in future.
Towards the end of the formal troop address, Army attendees joined together with their Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces for refreshments where he moved freely and shared a few thoughts with some of the Army personnel present there.
An Army live telecast of the President’s speech was transmitted to all Security Force Headquarters, Divisions and other formations simultaneously covering more than 30,000 members of the Army across the country.