Colombo: The war may have ended but Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa is well aware of the challenges that lie ahead. In a clear attempt at reconciliation, Rajapaksa began his address in Tamil sending a message out to the international community.
He said the solution to the crisis will be a homegrown one.
The doubts about Prabhakaran finally laid to rest when his body was recovered from the Nanthikadal Lagoon in the Mullaitivu battlezone. It was largely intact but bore bullet wounds indicating he had died in the fierce fighting.
A historic moment then for Sri Lankan President Rajapaksa as he entered the portals of Parliament in Colombo. The LTTE had been decisively defeated, the north and east united after 25 years the brutal conflict was over. And Rajapakse was looking ahead, he began his address in Tamil, an obvious attempt to reach out to his estranged Tamil people.
"Sinhalese, Burghers, Tamils and Malays have for three decades prayed and hoped for peace, we are all children of this country. There should be no difference on the basis of race or caste. The number of people massacred by LTTE are too many. People belonging to all ethnic groups were murdered," said the Sri Lankan President.
Then the discordant notes, the President never mentioned Prabhakaran by name. He did not indicate when the north and east would be opened to international humanitarian agencies. No mention at all of what plans he had to settle the political roots of the conflict that gave rise to the LTTE.
On the other hand, there was a warning from the President not to expect too much and not to push Sri Lanka too hard.
"We must find a homegrown solution to this conflict. That solution should be acceptable to all the communities. A solution to the Tamil issue will be found but not under international pressure," he said.
These remarks that will not go down easily in Delhi as it readies to send a high level delegation to explore the way forward with Colombo.