All citizens must enjoy the fruits of freedom

Updated 04 February 2015
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All citizens must enjoy the fruits of freedom

Today, we are celebrating the 67th anniversary of Independence while a civilized political culture is being created in our beloved motherland.
When the Father of the Nation, D.S. Senanayake, the first prime minister of Sri Lanka launched the independence struggle, the main weapon he used was the unity and brotherhood among the communities that lived in harmony in our country.
Once we gained independence, the challenge that we had to face was to safeguard that unity and march toward development of the country.
However, it was unfortunate that we could not achieve that goal successfully.
We have now, once again arrived at a period, during which we could realize that objective.
Groups that represent diverse communities, following different religions, political parties, civil organizations and various groups came together onto one platform, shedding their differences to achieve a common objective for the benefit of the nation.
Our aim is to emulate the dignified tradition of King Lichchavi, whereby people would meet peacefully, discuss issues peacefully and disperse peacefully, in order to ensure good governance and build a united and prosperous nation.
Let us resolve today, to achieve that noble objective, to give a real meaning to our independence.

Ranil Wickremesinghe
Prime Minister


Investigation into alleged mistakes in Yemen find coalition forces acted properly

Updated 17 January 2019
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Investigation into alleged mistakes in Yemen find coalition forces acted properly

JEDDAH: The Joint Incident Assessment Team in Yemen (JIAT) has investigated four allegations made by international governmental and non-governmental organizations and media about mistakes made by coalition forces while carrying out military operations inside Yemen.
JIAT spokesman Mansour Al-Mansour said that the team concluded that the procedures followed by the coalition forces were proper and safe, taking into consideration the rules of engagement, international humanitarian law and the coalition’s own rules.
Team members visited a number of cities in Yemen, including Aden, Lahj and Khor Maksar, during the investigation and spoke to witnesses, victims and their families to gather evidence and establish the facts.
In one of the incidents that was investigated, coalition warship fired on and destroyed a craft in the waters off the Yemeni port of Al-Khokha in September. Al-Mansour said that after examining documents and evidence JIAT had concluded that an alliance ship was escorting and protecting a flotilla of three Saudi merchant ships when, in an area off the port of Al-Khokha, a boat was spotted approaching the convoy at a high speed from the direction of the Yemeni coast.
The escort ship followed the accepted rules of engagement by repeatedly warning the unidentified vessel, using loudspeakers, not to come any closer. When these went unheeded, warning shots were fired but the boat continued to approach.
“On reaching an area that represented a threat to the convoy, the protection ship tackled the boat according to the rules of engagement and targeted it, resulting in an explosion on the boat,” said Al-Mansour. “The protection ship continued escorting the convoy. After the escort task was completed, the protection ship returned to the site of the targeted boat to carry out a search-and-rescue operation for the crew of the target boat but no one was found.”