Sri Lanka refutes reports of ceasefire offer

April 27th, 2009 - 8:07 pm ICT by IANS  

Colombo, April 27 (IANS) Sri Lanka Monday flatly rejected reports of making a ceasefire offer and said that the “media illusionists” have twisted the government statement on its decision “to stop using heavy guns, aerial weapons and combat aircraft” in operations in the north to ensure the safety of civilians.
The defence ministry said the troops will continue with “the humanitarian operations to rescue the remaining 15,000-20,000 people held hostage by LTTE” while avoiding the use of heavy calibre weaponry as a strict measure “coinciding with its zero civilian casualty policy”.

It said some sections of the media have misinterpreted the government declaration as a ‘cessation of hostilities’ cum ‘ceasefire’.

“This is a crude and an unethical way of media ‘reportash’, a blatant twist of the original statement, perpetrated to motivate the hell-bent terrorist sympathizers cum political louts,” the ministry quoted a defence official as saying.

The official has said that the government decision was an exhibit “of its grave concern to avoid any form of collateral-damage while surging into the remaining 10 sq km swathe of coast, south of Valayarmadam and Vellamullivaikkal” in the north-eastern Mullaitivu district.

“This is the same and an extension of what the security forces have been continuing since the fall of Mullaitivu, as terrorists resorted to taking thousands of civilians as hostage,” the defence official said.

He stressed that the government decision was not a reaction to any “international pressure but solely timed with the success of the ongoing world’s largest hostage rescue operation”.

“Security forces are now reaching victory, combat mission reaching its conclusion and in no form will leave a breather for the internationally banned terrorist outfit or its leaders who are much wanted for thousands of war crimes and crimes against humanity,” the official has been quoted as saying.

A statement from the Presidential Secretariat earlier in the day said: “Government of Sri Lanka has decided that combat operations have reached their conclusion”.

“Our security forces have been instructed to end the use of heavy calibre guns, combat aircraft and aerial weapons which could cause civilian causalties,” it said, adding that the troops will confine their attempts to rescuing civilians who are held hostage.

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