Colombo, Feb 7: The Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena called on the people to dedicate them to building a prosperous nation.
His appeal came at a point when this island nation was celebrating its 69th anniversary of independence from the British colonial rule.
The function was attended by thousands of Sri Lankan citizens.
Slamming the corrupt politicians and officials, President Sirisena called upon the people to fulfil their responsibilities towards the nation and the society to make Sri Lanka a prosperous nation.
Sounding a warning against those elements that work against reconciliation, the President said that those who do this also work against the country.
Sri Lanka became independent on February 4, 1948, less than a year after India attained freedom. The streets of Colombo were filled with the colours of the uniforms of 8,000 members of the armed forces who marched in a parade.
“In the past,” Sirisena said, "the great heroes of the fatherland dedicated and even sacrificed their lives for freedom. But the freedom of which we speak today is freedom of the media, of thought, of expression and of the possibility of peaceful assembly."
The President called on his fellow citizens to "fulfil their responsibilities and obligations to build an economically prosperous nation, improve skills, and maintain the support of the international community."
Sirisena pointed that “in the 21st century, Sri Lanka needs to develop knowledge, based on education, economic innovation and the development of digital skills and techniques.” To this end, he added, “young people can play a central role.”
According to the head of state, “every sector of society must work with determination and commitment to achieve full economic freedom and the objective of sustainable development, winning the fight against poverty.”
For this reason, he lashed out at corrupt politicians and officials. “To you, I say: be free from fraud, corruption, waste and theft. Politicians have to work in an honest way, and meet in a timely fashion the needs that economic prosperity entails.”