Colombo, May 19 (ANI): The Sri Lanka President, Mahinda Rajapaksa, in his victory speech to the Parliament termed "the victory achieved by defeating the LTTE as the victory of the country" here on Tuesday.
He also assured the Tamils in the island nation, that protecting them was his responsibility, and that they would enjoy equal rights in the country.
The speech came following the defeat of the Tamil Tigers and their decades-old war for 'Tamil Eelam' or an independent ethnic homeland.
Rajapaksa during his parliamentary address, which was nationally televised and broadcast live said: "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, "
He said that today was "a day which is very, very significant - not only to us Sri Lankans but to the entire world". "Today we have been able to liberate the entire country from the clutches of terrorism."
In his address, Rajapaksa called for unity and appealed all citizens to work towards building up of the country.
"All should live with equal rights. They should live without any fear. They should live with equal rights. 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," said Rajapaksa.
Meanwhile, Rajapaksa also highlighted the Sri Lanka Army's endeavour to save Tamil civilians' lives during the war with Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
"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.
"We have been able to defeat one of the most heinous terrorist groups in the world," Rajapaksa pointed out.
The LTTE has 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.
Mahinda Rajapaksa is the fifth President of Sri Lanka. He has been a lawyer, human rights activist, former government minister and previously served as the Prime Minister of the 13th Parliament of Sri Lanka.
On Monday, Sri Lanka formally announced the end of war against the LTTE after chief V. Prabhakaran was reportedly shot dead while trying to flee in an ambulance from the war zone in northern Sri Lanka.
According to the military, the Tamil Tigers tried to evacuate its leaders early this morning in two vehicles. Army special soldiers of 53 Division intercepted the vehicles moving north and destroyed the convoy after fierce fighting.
The military said it had found 150 bodies of LTTE cadres so far and they are in the process of identifying them.
The news of Prabhakaran's death also came along with reports of bodies of his son Charles Anthony and three other top leaders-Pottu Amman, Soosai and Nadesan being found.
The curtains came down on the 33-month-long Eelam War IV with Sri Lankan Army decimating the LTTE, resulting in the death of at least 18 top leaders presumably including V. Prabhakaran, the LTTE chief.
However, the military commanders on the ground were unable to officially confirm the death of Prabhakaran, as they had not been able to trace him or his body in the continuing combing operations. They believe that a body burnt beyond recognition recovered from the battle zone could be that of Prabhakaran.
Meanwhile, LTTE's International Relations head S. Pathmanathan said Tamil Tigers chief was still alive and healthy.
"I wish to inform the global Tamil community distressed witnessing the final events of the war that our beloved leader is alive and safe. He will continue to lead the quest for dignity and freedom for the Tamil people," the website TamilNet quoted Pathmanathan as saying. (ANI)