As the Philippines takes its first wary steps on the road to peace with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) which has fiercely engaged the armed forces in a long running secession conflict, it could do well to study the remarkably successful path to peace that Sri Lanka has forged after its own 30 year separatist struggle ended three years ago with the annihilation of the Tamil Tiger terrorist outfit which was engaged in a brutal war for its own homeland north of the picturesque country, Glenn Gale, wrote in Manila Times.
"Keen to share its post-war experience, the Sri Lankan Defense Ministry - spearheaded by tough and uncompromising Defense Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa who is widely regarded as the architect of his country's globally acclaimed victory over terrorism - staged an international conference in Colombo recently entitled "Towards Lasting Peace and Stability" which was attended by almost 200 foreign delegates representing governments and military institutions from nearly 70 countries," the writer said.
Conventional wisdom being that terrorism has no borders (and with more and more countries facing varying degrees of terrorist threats, both of the home grown and imported variety) the three day conference - which was attended by The Manila Times - gave Sri Lanka an opportunity to lay bare its own successful formula towards achieving peace and progress and the ultimate goal of nation building in the post-war era.
As Defense Secretary Rajapaksa gave a measured presentation on the government's post conflict efforts in "Reconstruction, Resettlement, Rehabilitation, Reintegration and Reconciliation", he proudly proclaimed that "Sri Lanka today is one of the most peaceful and stable countries in the world and is in the midst of a national revival".
How this transformation had been achieved was at the heart of this conference, and provided many pointers for the Philippines in its own newly laid out bid for peace and reconciliation in Mindanao, he said.
Glenn Gale is a Sri Lankan- British dual citizen who contributes articles to The Manila Times on international issues
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