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Sri Lanka not ready to order ceasefire - President tells India
[October 16, 2008]

Sri Lanka not ready to order ceasefire - President tells India

Colombo, Oct 16, 2008 (BBC Monitoring via COMTEX) --
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse Thursday [16 October] ruled out a ceasefire with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (LTTE) as demanded by Tamil Nadu politicians and vowed to continue the military offensive against the Tigers in the rebel stronghold of Kilinochchi.

Rajapakse has informed the Indian government that it is not ready to stop the ongoing offensive to evict Tamil Tigers from their last bastion or to order a ceasefire as demanded by the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, M. Karunanidhi, and other politicians of the state, the state-run Sri Lankan Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC) said.

His comments come even as a Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry Spokesman said operations in Kilinochchi were being carried out by the armed forces following zero-civilian casualty doctrine and all assistance was being provided to displaced Tamil civilians.

The Lankan president said his government had no intention to order a ceasefire at a time when LTTE leadership had sent suicide bombers to assassinate the leadership of his armed forces.

Rajapakse was quoted as questioning the demand for ceasefire saying that should we halt the operations to give time to the suicide bombers to carry out their heinous designs.

Earlier, last night the Foreign Ministry Spokesman said "we have put in a zero civilian doctrine in place in the areas bordering the government-controlled and the LTTE held areas in the North."

He said the civilian casualty had been minimal and the displaced persons were being provided relief on an emergency basis.

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse and its top military brass are claiming that their forces have reached the outskirts of Kilinochchi and the city could fall any moment.

Kilinochchi is stated to be the nerve centre and administrative headquarters of the Tamil Tigers and is only one of the two towns still being held by LTTE cadres in the Tamil-dominated North.

Rajapakse assertions came as Karunannidhi and other Tamil politicians and Members of Parliament have demanded enforcing a ceasefire and a political dialogue to sort out Sri Lankan Tamil issue.

The SLBC said Sri Lanka was a sovereign country and "the government emphasises that the Wanni operations cannot be stopped by politicians of Tamil Nadu.

It charged that LTTE had launched a conspiracy against Sri Lankan government and its forces.
"Therefore the government requests Indian establishment not to be misled by the conspiracy and that Sri Lanka has taken every possible measure to provide relief for the displaced in Wanni," the statement read out by SLBC said.

Source: PTI news agency, New Delhi, in English 1400gmt 16 Oct 08
BBC Mon SA1 SAsPol as

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