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Forces' dedication come in for praise

President Mahinda Rajapaksa paying tribute to the country's Armed Forces, said that it was through their dedication, sacrifice and valiant deeds that the people of all races and creeds were able to live without fear and tension.

He was addressing soldiers at the Vanni Security Forces Headquarters during his historic journey to Kilinochchi.

The President who mingled freely with the troops sharing Avurudhu kiribath and sweetmeats came in for much praise by members of forces who noted that the occasion was indeed a unique one in that it was the first time that a Head of State visited Kilinochchi since the outbreak of the war.

The President said the Lankan Forces who always abided by discipline was an example to any Armed Force in the world. He noted that they were able to crush the most ruthless terrorist organisation in the world. The President also praised the leadership that correctly guided them to achieve this success.

He said the Government would do its utmost to provide all welfare facilities to the heroic Forces. Already their children have been given preference in school admissions and also in housing and a host of other facilities.

The President said: "I consider my visit to Kilinochchi today as a historic one. I was able to make this trip due to the dedication of the Defence Secretary, the Service Commanders and heroic Forces"

"We had a big challenge before us when I was elected President in November 2005. That was to protect the motherland that was being overrun by terrorism and the unify territory that was divided after entering into pacts". The President observed that not a single inch of land was under control of the terrorist in the past. But during a short period a large mass of land was seized by the terrorists. Although troops through their dedication carried out operations they were unable to achieve victory due to certain political decisions taken by the powers that be.

"However in 2006 we were able to provide correct leadership to the same members of the Armed Forces by appointing leaders who could guide them to success and commenced the offensive. Our Defence Secretary allowed the necessary freedom to the service commanders enabling them, to conduct operations efficiently.

"We wanted to take back the land areas that were lost. If there is one Armed Force in the world who could be singled out for discipline it is our Forces. We rejoice in the victories achieved by that disciplined Force. We could go to any country and speak proudly about our forces. They have been able to display their prowess on land, sea and air in completely annihilating the LTTE".

The President said: "In a few days every inch of land in the country will come into the possession of the people of Sri Lanka devoid of religion, caste or ethnicity. You are conducting this task admirably. Freedom have been given to the civilian population to come to secure areas".

The President expressed the nation's gratitude and indebtedness to the heroic Forces and said the Government would do it's utmost to work towards their welfare with dedication.

"We appreciate your sacrifice to the land of your birth. I wish you all a happy New Year."

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