Colombo: The victory "achieved by defeating the LTTE" is the victory of the entire country, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa said while addressing parliament here Tuesday. He did not mention that death of rebel leader Velupillai Prabhakaran in his speech.
"Our aim was to protect the Tamils from the clutch of LTTE. In order to protect the innocent Tamilian civilians our soldiers sacrificed their lives," said Rajapaksa.
"The victory we have achieved by defeating the LTTE is the victory of our country, our motherland. To protect the Tamil population in this country is my responsibility and duty."
WE DID IT: Rajapakse says his priority will be to protect Lanka Tamils.
In the speech he began in Tamil, the president did not speak about the killing of LTTE chief Prabhakaran. The government had Monday said Prabhakaran had been killed while fleeing the battle zone in the island's north, but the pro-LTTE website TamilNet Tuesday claimed the LTTE supremo was alive.
Rajapaksa said: "All should live with equal rights. They should live without any fear. That is my expectation too. Let us all be united and build up this independent country. Today we have been able to liberate the country from the clutches of LTTE."
"Ours has always been an independent country and we have always been able to fight against invasion."
Talking about the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), the president said: "They killed statesmen like (former Indian prime minister) Rajiv Gandhi, our greatest defence minister...LTTE was one of the biggest terror organisations, known all over the world as one of the most powerful organisations.
"They had their own administration, own police station and courts. They used so much money that it is yet to be assessed... Our armed forces were able to defeat these forces."
"We have set a fine example for the entire world," Rajapaksa said, adding "we don't want advice from other country about how we should treat our people."
The LTTE had been waging a bloody war for secession from Sri Lanka for over 25 years, claiming that Tamils in Sri Lanka do not get justice from the majority Sinhalese. Over 90,000 people have been killed in the civil war.