Dear friends, I am convinced that the followers of the various religious traditions have an essential role to play in the delicate process of reconciliation and rebuilding which is taking place in this country. For that process to succeed, all members of society must work together; all must have a voice. All must be free to express their concerns, their needs, their aspirations and their fears. Most importantly, they must be prepared to accept one another, to respect legitimate diversities, and learn to live as one family. Whenever people listen to one another humbly and openly, their shared values and aspirations become all the more apparent. Diversity is no longer seen as a threat, but as a source of enrichment. The path to justice, reconciliation and social harmony becomes all the more clearly seen.
In this sense, the great work of rebuilding must embrace improving infrastructures and meeting material needs, but also, and even more importantly, promoting human dignity, respect for human rights, and the full inclusion of each member of society. It is my hope that Sri Lankas political, religious and cultural leaders, by measuring their every word and action by the good and the healing it will bring, will make a lasting contribution to the material and spiritual progress of the Sri Lankan people.
Mr President, dear friends, I thank you once again for your welcome. May these days we spend together be days of friendship, dialogue and solidarity. I invoke an abundance of Gods blessings upon Sri Lanka, the Pearl of the Indian Ocean, and I pray that its beauty may shine forth in the prosperity and peace of all its people.
[Original Language: English]