05/19/2009, 00.00
SRI LANKA

Rajapaksa declares the end of the war. Doubts surround the death of the Tiger’s leader

Official address to parliament broadcast live on TV. The leader speaks in Sinhalese and Tamil and affirms the “protection of all people, including Tamils, this is my commitment and my responsibility”. Ban Ki Moon expected on the island on May 22nd.

Colombo (AsiaNews/Agencies) - “Victory in the war against the LTTE has been reached”.  The President of Sri Lanka Mahinda Rajapaksa has officially declared the end of the war and in a parliamentary address early this morning. 

Rajapaksa read his discourse to the nation, which was broadcast to the nation, in Sinhalese and pronunced few words in Tamil.  The President affirmed that he had “exercised powers vested in me on the mandate given by the people in 2005 to free this nation and today every inch of this land is under the legal framework of the constitution”. 

In his discourse to Sri Lanka he remembered the soldiers killed in the line of battle and invited everyone to contribute to the reconstruction of the nation and resolve the problem of the tens of thousands of refugees. Rajapaksa said “there are only two sections. One who loves the country and a small minority that do not love the country”.

Meanwhile doubts surround the death of Tiger leader, Velupillai Prabhakaran. Selvarasa Pathmanathan, LTTE spokesman, has claimed that the supreme leader “is safe and well”.  His body was not found among those of 18 rebels killed yesterday by the Sri Lankan army and identified by the military.

In the interim, the government is negotiating with UN representatives to coordinate a response to the humanitarian emergency of the 220 thousand refugees in the government camps.  On May 22nd UN secretary general Ban Ki Moon is expected to arrive on the island.

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