Sri Lankan military commanders also lined up and shook
hands with him before starting closed-door talks.
The meeting came
as state television and defence officials announced that Tamil Tiger leader
Velupillai Prabhakaran and the entire rebel leadership had been killed on Monday
by government troops.
Sri Lanka's state television station announced
on Monday that Tamil Tiger rebel chief Velupillai Prabhakaran has been killed,
and the army commander said the last pockets of rebel resistance have been
cleared from the north.
Prabhakaran's death would
spell the end of a more than three-decade quest by the rebel leader for a
separate state for minority Tamils across northern and eastern Sri Lanka.
Rupavahini television, the state broadcaster, broke into its regular
programming Monday afternoon to announce Prabakharan's death. They gave no
details of how he was killed.
The government information department
also sent a text message to cell phones across the country announcing
Prabhakaran was killed along with his top deputies, who were known as Soosai and
Sri Lanka's army chief, Lt. Gen. Sareth Fonseka, told
television his troops routed the last rebels from the northern war zone Monday
morning and were working to identify Prabhakaran's body from among the dead.
"We can announce very responsibly that we have liberated the whole
country from terrorism," he told state television.
Prabhakaran was in
a small convoy of a van and ambulance along with several close aides which tried
to drive out of the battle zone, but was attacked and killed, the senior defence
ministry official said.
"He was killed with two others inside the
vehicle. There will be a formal announcement later," the official said on
condition he not be named.
"When the troops opened fire, the van
tried to get away, but it was also hit," said another high-level source from the
military. "The vehicle caught fire."
The defence ministry said the
rebels' leadership was decimated, heralding an end to their decades-old battle
to carve out an independent ethnic homeland in the north of the island.
Troops also found the bodies of Prabhakaran's 24-year-old son
Charles Anthony, the group's political wing leader B. Nadesan, and the head of
the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) Peace Secretariat, S Pulideevan.
Also reportedly found dead were the LTTE's police chief Ilango, its
eastern leader, S Ramesh, and deputy intelligence chief Kapil Amman.
In a dramatic announcement, the guerrillas acknowledged Sunday that
their decades-old battle for an independent ethnic homeland had reached its
"bitter end" -- signalling Asia's longest running civil war was all but over.
The separatist rebels were once one of the world's most feared
guerrilla armies, and ran a de facto mini-state spanning a third of the island
before the government began a major offensive two years ago.
have decided to silence our guns. Our only regrets are for the lives lost and
that we could not hold out for longer," Selvarasa Pathmanathan, the Tigers'
chief of international relations, said in a statement.
appeals for peace talks -- rather than a surrender -- were flatly rejected by
the government, and the defence ministry said soldiers were being sent in to
crush the diehard remnants and recapture "every inch of land."
Lanka's hawkish president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, will open a new session of
parliament on Tuesday with an address that will officially mark the ending of
The conflict has left more than 70,000 dead from pitched
battles, suicide attacks, bomb strikes and assassinations. The LTTE emerged in
the 1970s, with all-out war breaking out in the early 1980s.
capital Colombo, which has been frequently hit by Tiger suicide attacks over the
past quarter century, saw street celebrations which lasted well into Sunday
Authorities have been determined to capture, kill or recover
Prabhakaran's body amid fears his escape may lead to an attempt to rebuild the
LTTE and usher in a new cycle of violence.
The Sri Lankan
government's moment of triumph has also come at the cost of thousands of
innocent lives lost in indiscriminate shelling, according to the United Nations.
The UN's rights body now wants a war crimes probe.
Committee of the Red Cross, the only neutral organisation that has been allowed
to work in the war zone, has for its part described "an unimaginable
But Sri Lanka has shrugged off the
"There was no bloodbath as some people
feared," human rights minister Mahinda Samarasinghe told reporters. "Everybody
has come out safely and they are being looked after by the government."