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SL president names new military chief

world Updated: Jul 12, 2009 19:13 IST

AP
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Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa promoted his army commander to the country’s top military post nearly two months after the government forces crushed the separatist Tamil Tigers.

Gen Sarath Fonseka, who played a key role in defeating the Tamil rebels, will assume the duties of the Chief of Defense Staff on Wednesday, the president office said in a statement on Sunday.

The Chief of Defense Staff post, which used to be a ceremonial role, was recently expanded to have real powers.

Fonseka will be the chairman of a committee comprising commanders of the Army, Navy and Air Force and will be responsible for strategic planning.

Rajapaksa promoted Maj Gen Jagath Jayasuriya to army commander.

The government declared in May that its forces had crushed the Tamil Tiger rebel group and ended the decades-long war. The Tamil Tigers began fighting in 1983 for a separate homeland for Sri Lanka’s minority Tamil population.