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President Gotabaya Rajapaksa called on all Government and Opposition parties to unite inside as well as outside of Parliament to overcome the challenge faced by the country.

The President pointed out that politicians who incite the people against each other for narrow political gains should stop such moves at least now.

The President made these remarks while inaugurating the second session of the 9th Parliament this morning (18).

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa was received at the Sri Jayewardenepura Kotte Parliamentary Complex by Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena and Secretary-General Dhammika Dasanayake.

The new session of Parliament commenced with a focus on traditional activities, which did not include gun salutes or vehicle parades.

Students of the Janadhipathi Balika Vidyala, Nawala sang Jayamangala Gatha and welcomed the President at the main entrance.

In this difficult time of global catastrophe, all people's representatives have a national responsibility to work together to rebuild the country and despite the pledges made to fulfill responsibilities within five years, the global pandemic resulted in various obstacles, the President pointed out and emphasized that the government has never forgotten to fulfill its basic responsibilities.

The President also said that despite the economic difficulties, the government has taken steps to give priority to the health of the people and to bear all the necessary expenses.

President Rajapaksa said the government would continue to implement the programme launched to eradicate the drug menace, and added that the government had taken steps in the last two years to curb underworld activities as well.

Sri Lanka is a country that has always respected international laws and conventions. The President also said that the government did not support or condone any human rights violations or left any room for such violations during his tenure.

President Rajapaksa said that he rejects racism and that the present government wants to protect the dignity and rights of all citizens of this country. The President further added that the primary responsibility of the government is to provide facilities to all people without any discrimination and to establish reconciliation.

The President requested all Members of Parliament representing the North and East to support the Government's programme to improve the living standards of the people in their areas by at least temporarily putting aside various political ideologies.

If anyone acts with political motives to misinterpret and mislead the public against foreign investment, it would be detrimental to the country. New investments are needed for the development of the country at this moment. President Rajapaksa also said that more efforts should be made in the future to attract new investments in selected sectors.

The President said that the government has taken steps to increase the capacity of state universities and that he would invite the Parliament to initiate a broad debate on whether to allow the establishment of high quality non-state universities in the country.

This country belongs to the people living in the present as well as those who will live in the future. We are simply the current guardians of this country. President Rajapaksa said that the future of this country depends on the way we act today and stressed that we are all responsible to future generations.

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President’s Media Division