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Published on - 1/25/2008

LTTE Fighting its Last Battle Says President

THE LTTE is fighting its last battle and the security forces are continuing their fight to emancipate the country and the people of the north and east from terrorism. Meanwhile the government is engaged in finding a durable solution to the ethnic problem through democratic means, said President Rajapaksa yesterday.

Delivering the keynote address at the Gallantry Awards Presentation Ceremony of the three armed forces at the BMICH, he further said that the security forces had proved that terrorism was not undefeatable.

“There was a time when the people had been made to believe that the security forces could not win the war against the terrorists. But our forces have proved otherwise. The security forces have won on every front. The march against terrorism cannot be turned back; today the Army, Navy and Air Force are undefeatable,” said the President.

“When the Government honours the heroic deeds of armed forces personnel, we get the feeling of our forefathers like Puran Appu, Gongalegoda Banda and Kudapola Thera who rose against foreign powers. Those who are to receive gallantry awards have followed in the footsteps of their forefathers, and it is a pleasure and honour to recognize their dedication to their motherland and present them with medals,” he said.

“The armed forces personnel are fighting to protect their motherland, their fellow countrymen and their mothers, brothers and sisters. And the Government expects it of them. The terrorists have exposed their brutality and inhuman nature by firing at the innocent people who were injured in the bomb blast and were crying out for help at Buttala. The brutality of the LTTE knows no bounds.

They have murdered not only political leaders, academics, mothers and sisters but also world leaders like Rajiv Gandhi,” he said.

“The entire country, Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims and Burghers, are appealing to the government to crush terrorism and bring lasting peace to the country. The Government has the capability and strength to do that. While the armed forces are continuing their struggle to eradicate terrorism from the country, the Government is taking measures to provide a durable solution to the ethnic problem through political dialogue, he said, adding that victory was not far away.

President Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayaka awarded 15 Weera Vibhushana, 115 Ranawickrama and 919 Ranasoora medals. 147 of them were awarded posthumously or to persons missing in action. President's Secretary Lalith Weeratunga, Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, the Chief of Defence Staff and the armed forces commanders were present at the ceremony.