Address by H.E. Maithripala Sirisena
President of Sri Lanka
at the United Nations General Assembly High-level Plenary Meeting,
to be known as the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit
24 September 2018, New York
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
On behalf of the people and the government of Sri Lanka, I wish to express my sincere appreciation to the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the General Assembly for organizing the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit.
We speak today of Nelson Mandela, a great humanitarian, a leader who exemplified reconciliation, and a leader who guided humanity towards a nobler path, at a time when the contemporary world lacks such leaders. Nelson Mandela demonstrated to the world how one should act humanely when in power; when setting limitations to that power; and relinquishing power. Today’s world is not traversing the path that was taken by the great Nelson Mandela. It is because of this that the world needs to be reminded of the journey of Nelson Mandela.
The question arises regarding to what extent the nationalities and leaders of today who guide and chart the political paths of the world embody the noble qualities and characteristics of Nelson Mandela. It is my belief that world leaders in particular, must study and reflect on the life of Nelson Mandela, a great leader who taught the world about peace, reconciliation, harmony among communities, and a humane journey.
While the people and the government of Sri Lanka pay utmost respect for Nelson Mandela for the depths of his humanity, his love for fellow human beings, and his lack of greed for political power, we invite all world leaders to emulate this great man.
I thank you all.