Sri Lankan president slams 2002 ceasefire deal

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Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Saturday criticized a Norwegian brokered ceasefire agreement signed with the Tamil Tiger rebels in 2002, which he said was a betrayal to the nation.

Speaking at a victory day parade held to celebrate the fourth anniversary of the defeat of the rebels, Rajapaksa said that past leaders attempted to settle for a ceasefire with the Tamil Tigers as they had no confidence in defeating them.

However he said that those past leaders were unable to stop the bombings in and around the capital, Colombo, or the assassination of several politicians including former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

In 2002 the then government led by current opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe signed a ceasefire agreement with the rebels but the deal failed to last and the rebels were eventually defeated militarily by the current government.

Rajapaksa said that after the military defeated the rebels and even today, four years on, several attempts are being made to raise human rights allegations against the government.

He said that most attempts are with the aim of dividing the country, which he said he will not allow.

A massive victory day parade with the participation of the troops who actively took part during the final stages of the war against the rebels, was held in Colombo following the president's speech.

The Sri Lankan military defeated the rebels in May 2009 after 30 years of war but are facing allegations of committing grave human rights abuses in the process to end the conflict. The government denies the allegations. Endi

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