UK welcomes return of lands by armed forces
August 1, 2017 01:28 pm
British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, James Dauris, has commended the Sri Lankan armed forces on the land releases that have taken place, and said that further releases would continue to contribute to building confidence between communities.
“Handing land back has required some tough decisions, I know. Making it work is harder than it sounds and requires clear sighted and determined leadership.”
He stated that further land returns will win further confidence and that a further shift in the relationship between the soldiers and airmen and sailors who are doing their duty in the north, and local populations will also win further confidence.
“Things are much better, but all is not yet as well as it could or needs to be,” Dauris said, speaking at the Defence Services Command and Staff College recently.
“I believe that you can all be confident that all this is worth the effort. You can be confident that the steps that have been taken are ones that are contributing to building confidence between communities, to re-establishing the bond of trust between ordinary people and their armed forces.”
He also welcomed the renewal of links between British and Sri Lankan armed forces that has happened over the past year.
In the course of his comments the High Commissioner spoke about the importance of post-conflict reconciliation, drawing on the UK’s own experience in Northern Ireland. He commented that truth and accountability work in both the national interest and the armed forces’ self-interest, and are necessities for modern militaries.
High Commissioner Dauris explained that a process of truth and accountability advances reconciliation and prosperity – this is in the wider national interest. It builds confidence and trust between communities, and between the armed forces and the communities it is the responsibility of our servicemen and women to protect.
And among many reasons why it is in the military’s self interest, he suggested that it enhances credibility and self-esteem, strengthens morale and wins respect.
He also talked to the audience of officers from all of Sri Lanka’s forces about the UK’s recent Strategic Defence Spending Review (SDSR) and particular challenges that will drive UK security priorities and thinking for a decade.
Priorities include the increasing threat posed by terrorism, extremism and instability; and the impact of technology, especially cyber threats. Events of the last year have shown that these remain as important now as they were when the review was published.