Maithripala Sirisena

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India has been a friend of Sri Lanka for a long time. That is why I selected India for the first state visit after my election as the President

Maithripala Sirisena (Sinhalese: මෛත්‍රිපාල සිරිසේන; Tamil: மைத்திரிபால சிறிசேன; born 3 September 1951) is the 7th and current president of Sri Lanka since January 9, 2015, who is preceded by Mahinda Rajapaksa. He is the first president that hails from the North Central Province of Sri Lanka.


The new government of Sri Lanka is now carrying out the program [to improve Sri Lanka's economy] to build the coexistence and reconciliation in the country by fulfilling the responsibilities of a post-war period, after ending the 26 years long terrorism in Sri Lanka
I declare that Maithripala Sirisena has been duly elected as the President of Sri Lanka
  • I will not agree to get foreign judges in to any kind of investigations into human rights violations allegations.
  • The new government of Sri Lanka is now carrying out the program [to improve Sri Lanka's economy] to build the coexistence and reconciliation in the country by fulfilling the responsibilities of a post-war period, after ending the 26 years long terrorism in Sri Lanka
  • He (Mr Rajapaksa) was publicly lamenting that he was to be taken before a war crimes court and executed on an electric chair. The people who voted me against him have prevented that
  • The government did not take the required measures after the defeat of terrorism in 2009 and in January 2015, the people gave me the mandate to fulfill that task. Therefore, we have to take effective steps to build reconciliation and harmony and coexistence between the communities.
  • I will never agree to international involvement in this matter. We have more than enough specialists, experts and knowledgeable people in our country to solve our internal issues. This investigation should be internal and indigenous, without violating the laws of the country and I believe in the judicial system and other relevant authorities in this regard.The international community need not worry about matters of state interest
  • As we commemorate independence, let us dedicate ourselves to provide a truly ethical, virtuous, wise and equitable service to all. Let us pledge to consolidate on peace and freedom achieved and builds this future for our land and people. On this day, as we celebrate the 68th anniversary of our Independence, we are proud of the progress made towards safeguarding the freedom, sovereignty, territorial integrity of the Nation and strengthening national reconciliation and economic and political rights of all our citizens. This occasion is of special significance because we commemorate the dawn of freedom, at a time coinciding with the taking of clear and resolute steps to firmly establish democracy and good governance, the Rule of Law, and a truly meaningful parliamentary system; to establish a long lasting and stable structure of good governance, in keeping with the mandate given by the people one year ago. We are resolved to continue on this path to create a socio political environment for all citizens to live securely without fear. After achieving these, we have commenced a new drive for development, of which much remains to be done. It is our belief that the strength of our freedom largely depends on developing indigenous skills and knowledge, while zealously guarding the rich cultural and social heritage of our past and move ahead to the victories of the future. As we celebrate the gaining of Independence, today, we recognize our bounden duty to given all honor and respect to the members of the Security Forces who made great sacrifices to protect our sovereignty and territorial integrity in the battle against terrorism. Our foreign policy of middle path, with a commitment to justice and humanity, has won us friends in the international community who are ready to help us in our march towards prosperity. As we commemorate independence, let us dedicate ourselves to provide a truly ethical, virtuous, wise and equitable service to all. Let us pledge to consolidate on peace and freedom achieved and build this future for our land and people
  • Similar to the way our country has been following, the governance of this country [Sri Lanka] will be carried out in the future according to the advice and guidance of the Maha Sanga
    • Referring to Mahanayake of Kotte Kalyani Damma Maha Sanga Sabha Dr. Iththepane Dammalankara Thero, [during his time] Secretary for Ordination and the Deputy Secretary of the Sanga Sabha where he is the current Chief Secretary. He is the Director of the Pali and Buddhist Postgraduate Institute of the University of Kelaniya and the Professor of Pali at the Peradeniya University. He also is the Chief Incumbent of the Thalpitiya Bodhirajarama Vihara, and received a PhD at the University of Peradeniya, quoted on Eurasia Review (January 31, 2016), "Sri Lanka: Sirisena Participates In Ceremony To Offer Sannas Pathraya To New Anu Nayaka Thero"
  • Beyond the significance of this election to Sri Lanka, it is also a symbol of hope for those who support democracy all around the world. International and domestic monitors and observers were permitted to do their jobs. Sri Lankans from all segments of society cast their ballots peacefully, and the voice of the people was respected

Talk to Al Jazeera - Sri Lankan president: No allegations of war crimes[edit]

  • Hoda Abdel Hamid (Interviewer for Al Jazeera): President Mathripala Sirisena, thank you for talking to Al Jazeera. Now you've been a year in power, you have received a lot of praise whether it is at home [Sri Lanka] or on the international level. Some go as far as saying 'Sri Lanka is finally on track to fix its democracy'. Looking at your second year, what other priorities?
  • Mathripala Sirisena: The main thing in the 2nd year is the country's economy, because poverty is still prevalent. 22% of the population of this country is malnourished, and 15-17% of the population suffers from diabetes. 7-8% of the population is disabled, disabled by war, natural disaster or other causes. Therefore we must take all these into account. Priority has been given to eradicate poverty, to strengthen people's financial position, to strengthen the national economy.

  • Hoda Abdel Hamid (Interviewer for Al Jazeera): As much as you received praise during your 1st year, you also received some criticism, now I spoke to some Sri Lankans for the past few days, one issue that came up was the issue of nepotism. Many said that during your election campaign, you were very vocal about it. You condemned the practices of the former president, yet during that 1st year, you appointed members of your own family, your son in law is a public relations officer of the defense ministry, your brother is head of the government owned telecom company. And then there is the issue of your son, who came with you to the General Essambly in New York last September. It was your first time you were there as a president, and Sri Lanka is still means well, when we saw that picture, we were wondering 'is there really a difference? Or actually, will politics always be a family business in this country'?
  • Mathripala Sirisena: Let me explain the facts. First, let's look at my brother who is Chairman of the Telecom company. You have to differentiate between nepotism, and members of the family getting involved in governance. When you take the telecom institution, it's a mix of state and private sector. Importantly, it comes under a different ministry: it's an institution that comes under a different minister. My brother hasn't been involved in governance in any instance. On the other side, you mentioned my son-in-law, he has in no way been given a powerful position. He has only a minor position on my personal staff. Then you mention my son. Usually, we all know that when you go to the UN General Assembly, there are a certain number of seats allocated to each country's delegation. It's only in accordance with that allocation that government representatives from here attended. I must very clearly say: my son was not included in that number. I totally reject describing this as nepotism. Because in politics, we also need to look at people's understanding, our culture. So within these issues, we have to look at the way the government acted, before I came to power and how we act today. So I must clearly say no member of family has been involved in governance at any point.

  • Hoda Abdel Hamid (Interviewer for Al Jazeera): Mr. President, I'd like to move onto to the war crimes probe. This is a bit of a sore point, and sometimes it's seems that Sri Lanka is at odd with the international community over this point. Yet, your government, and your country did co-sponser resolution 30, of the UN Human Rights Council which clearly calls for a judicial mechanism where international experts would have a role. Then there was talk about a hybrid court and just recently, you said that there was no need for any international involvement in the probe. It's a bit confusing, so what is going on exactly?
  • Maithripala Sirisena: I must say very clearly there is no allegations regarding 'war crimes', there were war crime allegations during the early stages. But at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, mainly in the proposals presented in September, there were no war crime allegations against us. They contained allegations of Human Rights violations only. When you consider the facts surrounding the allegations of human rights violations, we're committed as a member of the UN to implementing the main points and proposals. But within that commitment, we will always act in accordance with the sovereignty of our country and in accordance with our constitution. For this work, we can obtain foreign technology in certain areas. In terms of people we definitely do not need outsiders. We have an unbiased independent judiciary in this country. We have a Criminal Investigation Department and other institutions that can carry out unbiased investigations in this regard.


  • The new government is basically.. is the same as the last one, but with a different face. You know.. majority of what made up this new government used to work for Rajapaksa. So… I think.. you know.. when we say what can the new government can offer the Tamils. I think the Tamils were interested in voting out of Rajapaksa, but they did not necessarily know the face of the new president. Unknown on the very surface level, but I think as time goes on, we are going to find out, that this is pretty similar to the old one.

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