Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa delivered a victory address to parliament Tuesday, declaring that his country had been "liberated" from terrorism after defeating the Tamil Tiger rebels on the battlefield.
Rajapaksa spoke to a rapt assembly of lawmakers a day after government forces killed the last of the rebels' fighters on the battlefield in the north. The government said it had killed rebel leader Velupillai Prabhakaran in the final battle as well, but Rajapaksa never mentioned the rebel leader in his speech.
Recounting how the rebels, known formally as the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, once controlled a wide swath of the north and much of the east, Rajapaksa said that for the first time in 30 years, the country was unified under its elected government.
"We have liberated the whole country from LTTE terrorism," he said, declaring Wednesday a national holiday to celebrate the armed forces.