President Mahinda Rajapaksa has called on members of the G-11 to make use of the groupings common bond, to work towards eliminating the scourge of terrorism which has mostly affected the poor and disadvantaged in their countries.
`All terrorist attacks whether in Amman, Islamabad, London or Colombo are acts that must be vehemently condemned,` the President stressed addressing the G-11 Summit at the King Hussein Conference Hall at the Dead Sea City in Jordan on Saturday.
The President said Sri Lanka suffered heavily from terrorism and the country had been working together with the global community to deal with terrorism.
`My request to you, here today, is for the G-11 to emphasise the strong bond that unites us all in responding to the challenges of terrorism,` the President said.
`Unfortunately some in the developed world tend to view certain terrorist organisations with a degree of tolerance. At times, these terrorists are viewed as rebels or fighters against discrimination as long as they do not create violence in those countries.
`Also some countries have permitted terror organisations to have front offices, institutions, lobby groups and charities based on the premise of democracy. By this, they have shown their indifference to terrorism,` President Rajapaksa said.
The President said his Government too firmly confronted senseless terrorist violence. `Not only we seek to defeat terrorism but also to liberate the people who have become victims of terrorism.`
He said in this exercise they were fully committed to safeguarding human rights and democracy adding that political negotiations and constitutional reforms have been initiated to address concerns of all communities.
The President also said although confronted by many challenges, Sri Lanka sustained an economic growth in excess of 7.2 per cent during 2006 - a further improvement from the growth of 6.2 per cent in 2005.
`Unemployment declined to six per cent. Exports grew by around eight per cent. We have attracted overseas remittances of over US$ 2 billion. We managed to attract foreign investment in excess of US$ 600 million,` he said.
`Undoubtedly, if we are to sustain our levels of development the rural poor must receive specific attention. They tend to be left behind as our economies progress. Disparities in levels of development within a country must be bridged. For instance, in my own country, in the past, economic growth has left the rural areas behind.
`Disparities within a country and disparities among income groups cannot be tolerated, if we are to graduate to Middle Income status and remain there,` President Rajapaksa said.
`In the 10 year Development Framework under the Mahinda Chintana, the recipe for a new Sri Lanka, we have outlined several programmes particularly to address the issues of the rural sector.
We are placing emphasis on roads, particularly in the rural areas, electricity, irrigation and water supply, housing and livelihood assistance. We have launched an unprecedented rural development initiative within the medium term development framework,` he said.
`I wish to make an appeal therefore to the members of the G-11 to support His Majesty`s proposal and speak in one voice on the need for bringing peace to Palestine. We also must lend support to each other to combat terrorism and bring about sustainable peace.
We would then be able to make G-11 a strong lobby in the world. It is the only means to survive and progress towards development,` the President said.