War won’t stop until Prabhakaran is taken dead or alive: Sri Lanka (Lead)

April 30th, 2009 - 1:39 pm ICT by IANS  

Colombo, April 30 (IANS) Firmly rejecting the calls for ceasefire and access for aid workers to the civilians trapped in the war zone, Sri Lanka has said that it would “not stop its war on terror until the LTTE was crushed and its leader Velupillai Prabhakaran captured, dead or alive”, a media report said here Thursday.
According to The Island newspaper, Sri Lanka’s powerful Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa made these remarks during his interaction with British Foreign Secretary David Miliband, who was here Wednesday on a day-long visit. He separately met French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner.

Quoting highly-placed sources, the media report said the defence secretary has told Miliband that Sri Lankan troops and civilians had perished in the conflict and therefore the government was determined to finish off the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, who is the younger brother of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, has said that the humanitarian concerns were “only a ploy employed by some people to extricate Prabhakaran and his top leaders from the mess they had got into”, stressing that a truce would only help the Tamil Tigers to regroup.

“The only person who could stop this war is only the president of Sri Lanka. The military had orders to either capture or destroy Prabhakaran and other top LTTE leaders,” The Island has quoted Rajapaksa as telling Miliband.

Rajapaksa has also said over 200,000 people had been rescued by the army from the LTTE since March this year.

“On April 20 alone we secured the release of over 45,000 men, women and children from the clutches of the LTTE,” he said, vowing to rescue the others shortly.

Totally rejecting the reports that civilians had been harmed due to firing by the army, the defence secretary told the Britain envoy not to be duped by the disinformation campaign of the LTTE.

“All the stories that were disseminated from the no fire zone were all doctored by the LTTE for the consumption of the international community and the western media. Do you think a terrorist group like the LTTE will allow anyone to express independent views detrimental to its cause?” Rajapaksa asked.

Separately meeting the visiting French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner at the same venue, Rajapaksa denied a request that the UN be given access to the civilian zone held by the LTTE.

“The defence secretary said no one was safe in that area and the government could not guarantee anyone’s safety,” the media report said.

In response to the situation in Sri Lanka where hostilities between the government and the LTTE is entering a final phase, the government of Japan has decided to dispatch its special peace envoy, Yasushi Akashi, to Sri Lanka. He will arrive on a three-day visit starting April 30.

“During his stay in Sri Lanka, Akashi will meet government officials to call for ensuring the safety and security, including smooth provision of relief assistance, to internally displaced persons in the northern part of Sri Lanka,” a statement from the Japan embassy said here Thursday.

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