'All political parties should unite to foster peace'

Oct 14 (InfoLanka) Peace does not mean victory to a single party, it should bring victory to all parties concerned. Achieving such a last and durable peace is not an easy task it involves an exchange of ideas said Mass Communications Minister Imthiaz Bakeer Markar.

The Minister expressed these sentiments when he addressed the 2003 World Postal Day National Ceremony held at the Matale Town Hall on October 9.

Minister Markar said the people were today requesting the government to achieve such a lasting peace by making whatever sacrifices needed. Therefore, all political parties should unite to foster peace, so badly required by the people.

Minister Bakeer Markar said the J.V.P. would not have been able to enter the democratic mainstream today if the then Government or the people suppressed it for resorting to destructive activities during the 1971-89 period. If the J.V.P. which gained that experience today tried to obstruct the LTTE bid to enter the peaceful path after silencing guns and leaving the path of terrorism it would be a social tragedy.

The Minister said "We are all hoping to transform the temporary peace that has dawned in the country into a permanent peace by making whatever sacrifices possible. Such an objective cannot be achieved by the Government single handed unless it received the contribution of all parties and groups".

The UNESCO declaration had stated that "War starts in the minds of the people. Peace should gain protection in the very peoples minds".

The Minister further said, the peace we hope to achieve should be a long lasting peace, where all Sri Lankans could live with dignity and self respect. The war has even temporarily stopped due to Government -LTTE talks because both parties aspired to achieve a respectable peace.

Our country is a multi racial and multi religious country where there are Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim, Burgher and other communities living in it. These social groups should be an asset rather than a liability to the country. We should pay attention towards obtaining their contribution towards the social development effort by utilising their talents.

Minister Markar said World Postal Day has been celebrated throughout the World since 1939. Until last year celebrations in Sri Lanka in this connection had been limited to a single day. From last year my Ministry had made use of this celebration to a wide development programme catering to the communication needs of the common masses. Last year the communication development programme was centred round Kalutara district. This year it was implemented in the Matale district which had vast communication needs.

This programme has helped to fulfill 40 per cent of the telecommunication needs in the district. The programme also enables them to set up 2 new post offices, renovate all other post offices in the district and open 5 regional communications affiliated to post offices in the area. Furthermore, all sub-post offices without telephone facilities have now been provided with telephone connections.

The Communication Week organised by his Ministry had also provided Matale with a printing school, a facility which had been restricted to Colombo City earlier. It has also helped to impart knowledge in information technology to students in Matale through workshops and exhibitions.

The Ministry has decided to conduct World Postal Day celebrations in the Moneragala district next year as it badly needed development in the communication sector. Development activities undertaken in Moneragala in respect of these celebrations would be launched instantly.

Home Affairs, Provincial Councils and Local Government Minister Alick Aluvihare said the UNF Government led by Prime Minister Wickremesinghe had been able to bring the dividends of peace to people through development activities within two years of cessation of hostilities.

The peaceful environment in the country had enabled them to bring most modern communication facilities to the Matale district.

Central Province Chief Minister Wasantha Aluvihare, Secretary, Ministry of Mass Communication Kumar Abeysinghe and Acting Post Master General Sherwin Senadheera also spoke.

All religious ceremonies to mark World Postal Day were held at Aluvihare and Hindu Catholic and Muslim places of worship in Matale in the morning.

The Minister also flagged off a cycle race and opened an exhibition held in this connection.

A commemorative stamp and first day cover was also issued by the Philatelic Bureau to mark the occasion while Postal Employee with over 30 years' service were honoured at a special felicitation ceremony.