Sri Lanka’s ‘no’ to talks with TigersFebruary 5th, 2009 - 5:22 pm ICT by IANS
Colombo, Feb 5 (IANS) Sri Lanka has rejected a suggestion that it should discuss “modalities to end hostilities” with the Tamil Tigers, saying that “nothing short of unconditional surrender” would be permitted.The suggestion came two days ago from a grouping called the Tokyo Co-Chairs involving the US, Japan, Norway and the European Union as troops laid siege to the last of the Tamil Tiger bastion in the north, a media report said Thursday.
Expressing “great concern” over the plight of civilians trapped in fierce fighting between the military and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), the co-chairs asked the rebels to discuss with Colombo “the modalities for ending hostilities, including the laying down of arms and renunciation of violence”.
They also urged the LTTE to accept “the government of Sri Lanka’s offer of amnesty and participation as a political party in a process to achieve a just and lasting political solution”.
According to the The Island newspaper, Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa has said that “the international community shouldn’t expect Sri Lanka to allow the LTTE’s participation as a political party in a fresh negotiating process after the armed forces crushed its wherewithal to wage war.
“Nothing could be as ridiculous as this. Nothing short of unconditional surrender of arms and cadres could bring an end to the (military) offensive,” the Island quoted Rajapaksa as saying. The defence secretary is a younger brother of President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
“The co-chairs seem to have conveniently forgotten that a group of local UN employees and their dependents too had been held by the LTTE. The LTTE has thwarted several attempts to evacuate (the UN personnel),” Rajapaksa said.
Rajapaksa said the Tigers were now “holed up in approximately 200 square km area, (and) the civilian human shield seemed to be its last defence”.
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