S Lanka marks war anniversary with military parade

Sri Lanka celebrated three years since the end of a 30-year war with Tamil Tiger rebels by staging a massive military parade.

Colombo: Sri Lanka on Saturday celebrated three years since the end of a 30-year war with Tamil Tiger rebels by staging a massive military parade and commemorative event for the security forces.

Over 12,000 members of the security forces took part in the parade in the capital which included an air and sea display, a parachute drop and handing over of special accolades to selected families of troops killed during the war.

Members of Sri Lanka`s main opposition United National Party and several foreign diplomats also attended the victory day celebrations.

Addressing the nation during the main parade, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said Sri Lanka appreciates the support given by the international community during the war to defeat the rebels.

He called for similar support to rebuild the nation which continues to face calls to investigate alleged human rights abuses committed during the war.

Rajapaksa also said that some recommendations of a local war commission, the Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), are now being implemented.

"The report was to be used to reconcile communities. It should not be used to create divisions among the communities," the President added.

On Friday, Sri Lanka`s External Affairs Minister GL Peiris presented an action plan to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on how the government hopes to implement some of the recommendations of the LLRC.

During the military celebrations in Colombo, President Rajapaksa also said that military camps in the north of the country will not be removed despite pressure from some groups to do so.

Minority Tamil political parties and some foreign governments have been calling on Sri Lanka to reduce the military presence in the north.

Sri Lanka declared victory against the rebels in May 19, 2009, following the recovery of the body of rebel leader Vellupillai Prabakaran.

However, a UN report later accused the Sri Lankan government of violating humanitarian laws during the final stages of the war.

Sri Lanka was also accused of killing unarmed rebels who had surrendered to the military during the final days of the war, a charge the government denied.


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