Speaking in parliament after presenting the national budget for 2014, Rajapaksa said on Thursday that despite the army defeating the Tamil Tiger rebels four years ago, groups that were backing the rebels still remain active, media reported.

He said those groups have placed hurdles on the efforts in establishing the lasting peace, unity and corporations in the country. "It is our national responsibility to overcome those barricades and defeat future challenges. For our future generations, we need to ensure the national unity."

The President also called on the nation to support the social and economic development across the country.

He insisted that Sri Lanka is a democratic country which has been proven by the recent provincial council elections.

The President said that the people were able to elect their own representatives to three local councils in 2013, including in the North.

He also said that the arrival of heads of states' for the Commonwealth summit last week dispelled allegations against Sri Lanka.

The Sri Lankan government has been previously accused of human rights abuses during the final stages of the war against the Tamil Tiger rebels.

The rebels were defeated in May 2009 after 30 years of combat. The government says it needs time to address the concerns on human rights.

(Agencies)

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