My people are important than satisfying int’l community - president

President Maithripala Sirisena says it is important to safeguard the country’s sovereignty and the people’s dignity rather than satisfying the international community.

Summoning senior ministers of the government last night (20), the president made the remark in response to a question raised by minister Mahinda Samarasinghe, according to reports reaching.

Present at the meeting were prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and ministers Sajith Premadasa, Ravi Karunanayake, Kabir Hashim, Mangala Samaraweera, Malik Samarawickrama, Akila Viraj Kariyawasam, Thalatha Athukorale, Ranjith Madduma Bandara, Sarath Amunugama, Susil Premajayantha, Mahinda Amaraweera, Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, Dayasiri Jayasekara, Dilan Perera, Thilanga Sumathipala and Patali Champika Ranawaka.

Minister Samarasinghe highlighted the need for the government to declare its stand due mainly to members of the armed forces and the public in general being confused by claims by Gotabhaya Rajapaksa’s ‘Viyath Maga’ that foreign judges would be brought down for a hybrid court to investigate alleged human rights violations during the war.

What about 88-89, LTTE HR violations?

Responding, president Sirisena stressed that he would not allow any foreign judges into the country.

If the alleged war crimes are to be investigated, the HR violations during 1988-89 as well as those committed by the LTTE too, should be investigated, he said, noting that he was not prepared to do what foreigners wanted done.

Speaking here, minister Samaraweera explained that there was not much pressure from the international community for foreign judges’ participation.

He noted that at a media briefing in Colombo on March 16 and before the international community as well, he explained that the constitution would not allow the involvement of foreign judges.

PM Wickremesinghe said he had announced his views in this regard when he addressed a function at Weeraketiya on March 19.

The constitution does not allow foreign judges and the government would not agree to an international court, he said there.

Harsha to make statement

The president, PM and the ministers discussed the importance of highlighting this stance before the international community, and decided that deputy minister Harsha de Silva would make an announcement at the UNHRC sessions in Geneva on its final day.

Samaraweera will not be in Geneva for the session as he is due to accompany the president to Russia on a three-day visit.