Colombo: Tamil dancers perform during the celebrations on Sunday.—Reuters
Colombo: Tamil dancers perform during the celebrations on Sunday.—Reuters

COLOMBO: Days ahead of the Feb 10 local government elections and proclamations by the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) that President Maithripala Sirisena would take over the reins of economic planning from the coalition government partner, the United National Party (UNP), Sirisena said the country could gain complete independence only after achieving complete economic and cultural freedom.

Sri Lanka marked on Sunday the 70th anniversary of independence from Britain with Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, the youngest son of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, being the chief guest at the celebrations.

Addressing the nation to mark 70 years of independence from British rule, President Sirisena said that 2018 was a crucial year for Sri Lanka for achieving economic freedom and the government would ensure it achieved this and its long term goals.

“We must remember that true freedom does not comprise only of political freedom.

As a country, our future successes lie in our commitment to achieving long term goals with firm determination, as we have done in the past,” he said.

He paid tribute to the patriots of the island who had sacrificed their lives in achieving freedom over the years.

Published in Dawn, February 5th, 2018