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Sri Lanka president seeks end to ethnic divisions

world Updated: May 21, 2009 20:47 IST

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Sri Lanka's president Thursday called for an end to the ethnic divisions that have caused decades of war in the country, saying defeat of the Tamil Tiger separatists should usher in an era of unity.

"I see it as the duty of all to ensure that all differences that hitherto divided our people are subsumed in the great and momentous joy that is shared by us all," the president said in a statement.

The United Nations and countries around the world have called on the president to follow victory over the rebels with reconciliation with the island's large Tamil minority.

"The celebration of this victory, as deep as it is felt, should be expressed with magnanimity and friendship towards all," he said.

The government on Monday announced that it had wiped out the leadership of the Tamil Tigers and retaken the final patch of territory from the rebels who ran a de facto state in the island's northeast only two years ago.