Sri Lanka rules out ceasefire with rebelsMarch 4th, 2009 - 11:15 pm ICT by IANS
Colombo, March 4 (Xinhua) Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayake Wednesday ruled out the possibility of a truce with Tamil Tiger rebels amid ceasefire calls from India and the international community.
“We will not trust the terrorist group and go for a ceasefire,” Wickramanayake told Sri Lankan parliament.
The prime minister’s response was the first government reaction to a statement by Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee that the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) must negotiate a ceasefire that would ensure safety of civilians trapped in the war zone.
“We have neared the end of our campaign against terrorism so there is no need for a ceasefire,” Wickramanayake said.
The government accuses the LTTE of holding about 70,000 civilians as a human shield and the international community has stressed on the need to allow them free passage out of the battle zone.
The military said its offensive against the LTTE is at the final stage as the rebels have been cornered to just 40-sq-km area in the northern Mullaittivu district.
The reclusive LTTE leader Velupillai Prabakaran is believed to be conducting operations from the area.
The LTTE wants to set up a separate homeland for the minority Tamil community in the north and east of the Island nation, claiming discrimination at the hands of the majority Sinhalese dominated successive governments.
Tags: battle zone, ceasefire, civilians, foreign minister, free passage, human shield, island nation, liberation tigers of tamil eelam, liberation tigers of tamil eelam ltte, ltte leader, minority tamil community, prabakaran, pranab mukherjee, sri lankan government, sri lankan parliament, tamil tiger rebels, terrorist group, truce, war zone, xinhua