COLOMBO (Reuters) - With a quarter-century civil war in the history books, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa will now put to the test his theory of using a military victory over terrorism as the first step to tackling its root causes. Flush with the success of victory over the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in a 25-year war once dubbed unwinnable, Rajapaksa offered compromise and reconciliation with the Tamil minority in a victory speech on Tuesday. At this victorious moment, it is necessary for us to state with great responsibility that we do not accept a military solution as the final solution, said the president, who is Sinhalese. It is necessary that we give these people the freedoms that are the right of people in all others parts of our country. In a nation scarred and divided after one of the worlds longest-running and bloody civil wars, with extremists on both sides often calling the shots, Rajapaksa, 63, now faces what may be Sri Lankas greatest post-independence challenge. It is a one that traces its roots back to 1948, the year Sri Lankas minority Tamils lost their favoured status as the British colonial government handed power to the Sinhalese majority at independence. Tamils suffered abuses and sidelining by several governments, which sparked political violence in the 1970s and a full-scale civil war in 1983. We have seen good sentiments in the past. What matters is the substance of the political settlement, Rajan Hoole, a member of the University Teachers for Human Rights (Jaffna) group that has been equally critical of past LTTE and govt abuses. Delivering political empowerment the Tamil minority can embrace while balancing the need of security to ensure Tamils do not again turn guerrilla violence and suicide bombings are the keys to success. One lingering effect of the war that rubs the old wounds raw are the repeated security checks Tamils face in their daily lives. Outgoing US Ambassador Robert Blake, in his final Press conference on Wednesday before leaving the island, said Sri Lanka would have to work hard to make everyone feel equal. To achieve the promise of this new beginning and to ensure a lasting end to terrorism, bold actions are needed now to share power and to assure all of Sri Lankas communities a future of hope, respect and dignity, he said