No Indian request to end war against Tigers: Sri LankaJune 26th, 2008 - 1:54 pm ICT by IANS
By P. Karunakharan
Colombo, June 26 (IANS) Refuting allegations in sections of the political and media circles, Sri Lanka has said there was no request from India to stop the military campaign against the Tamil Tigers, a media report said Thursday. Media Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardane said there was no truth in the allegations by the Sinhalese-Marxist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) that the visit by an Indian delegation led by National Advisor M.K. Narayanan sought to pressure Colombo to stop the war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and to go for peace talks.
“Sri Lanka is maintaining a strong relationship with India. As a neighbouring country, India is requesting peace talks but it did not compel the government to stop the war,” the state-run Daily News quoted Abeywardane as saying.
The Indian delegation that also included Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon and Defence Secretary Vijay Singh met President Mahinda Rajapaksa and other officials including Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.
They held talks on a wide range of issues, including the ethnic conflict and the upcoming South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit in Colombo.
The Indian delegation also met R. Sampanthan, leader of the pro-LTTE Tamil National Alliance (TNA), and Minister of Social Services Douglas Devananda, who heads the anti-LTTE Eelam People’s Democratic Party (EPDP).
Abeywardane also denied as “baseless” allegations that the JVP was spreading “false propaganda” that Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan, known as Pillaiyan, has been chosen chief minister of the eastern province under Indian pressure.
“Chandrakanthan has been elected the chief minister with a democratically held election … not on the insistence of India,” the minister said.
The minister said that “the doors for peace talks are open round the clock but the LTTE must lay down their weapons”.