‘Sri Lanka unlikely to accept LTTE’s truce offer’

July 22nd, 2008 - 1:34 pm ICT by IANS  

Colombo, July 22 (IANS) A top Sri Lankan minister Tuesday expressed scepticism about the unilateral truce offer by the Tamil Tiger rebels for the upcoming Saarc summit, and said that the coalition government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa was unlikely to accept the offer. “I do not think that the government will fall into this trap, because we have enough experience with these kinds of offers of ceasefire from the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) in the past 30 to 40 years,” Sri Lanka’s defence spokesman and Minister of Foreign Employment Keheliya Rambukwella told IANS over phone.

Rambukwella also said that the truce offer from the LTTE is coming at a time “when they are getting heavily beaten by the advancing government troops in all fronts in the north”.

“Our (the government) position is very clear that we can consider any such truce offer from the LTTE only with the pre-condition of laying down their weapons,” the defence spokesman said.

The Tamil Tiger rebels Monday night offered a unilateral truce with the government of Sri Lanka between July 26 and Aug 4 “as a sign of goodwill” for the upcoming Saarc summit that opens here July 27.

“We wish to express the goodwill and trust of the Tamil people. As a sign of this goodwill, our movement is glad to inform that it will observe a unilateral ceasefire that is devoid of military actions during the period of the Saarc conference from July 26 to Aug 4 and give our cooperation for the success of the conference,” the LTTE’s political wing said in an e-mail statement to the media late Monday night.

Claiming that the LTTE was “always keen to develop friendship with the countries of the world and our neighbouring countries in our region”, it however warned that it would retaliate if government troops disregard its “goodwill gesture” and carry out offensive operations.

The military said Sunday that the advancing troops had captured Iluppaikkadavai located some 12 km north of Vidattaltivu, which was captured by the military Wednesday along with a strong Sea Tiger base in the Mannar district, located some 315 km northwest of Colombo.

According to the military, the capture of Vidattaltivu, located some 20 km north of Mannar town, will badly hit the rebels’ arms smuggling and other illegal activities at sea.

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