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President Welcomes US clarification: State Department Exonerates Security Forces

PRESIDENT Mahinda Rajapaksa welcomed the clarification made by the US State Department yesterday which exonerated the Security Forces from an accusation of using rape as a weapon during the recent conflict. President Rajapaksa described the US clarification as one which upheld the respect and dignity of our war heroes.

The US State Department reacting to the disputed statement said yesterday that during the most recent phase of the conflict, from 2006 to 2009 they had not received reports that rape and sexual abuse were used as tools of war, as they clearly have in other conflict areas around the world.”

Earlier, the President addressing a UPFA political meeting on Sunday urged such accusers to come up with substantial proof, if there were any.

Addressing a massive gathering at the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) Southern PC election rally in Galle yesterday the President noted that errors could be made by anybody.

The President’s observation was with regard to the swift action taken by the US to correct the statement of one of their own officials.

However, the President said that it was unfortunate to note that a series of such accusations against the military since they liberated the country from the clutches of terrorism were of local origin.

He said that certain media, NGOs and politicians with vested interests were behind these wild allegations. He added that the Southern polity which had given some historic and exemplary polls verdicts, over the years should relay a strong message to both local and foreign detractors through their verdict on October 10 and show the true pulse of the people.

The President also advised the voters of the South to put the party before anything else. He urged the voters to use their franchise wisely and cast all three preferential votes available to them.

He also urged the Southern polity to appoint a strong PC which could honour their wishes and aspirations.

According to many, the UPFA’s main Southern PC rally held at the Samanala Grounds located close to the historical Galle Fort yesterday saw the biggest gathering the city had ever witnessed.

During the meeting former UNP MP Sepala Akuragoda from Baddegama got on stage to show solidarity with the President and the Government. The meeting was attended by a number of prominent UPFA politicians including Ministers Nimal Siripala de Silva, Champika Ranawaka, Tissa Vitarana, Susil Premajayantha, Piyasena Gamage, Felix Perera, Rishard Bathiudeen, Western Province Governor Alavi Mowlana and North Central Chief Minister Berty Premalal Dissanayake and Wimal Weerawansa MP. The meeting was also attended by the UPFA’s team contesting the Galle district at the upcoming PC elections. (Courtesy: Daily News)