Euphoria over the possibility of talks between the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE generated earlier in the week, petered by Friday, when the cabinet spokesman Anura Priyadarshana Yapa said that there had been no official offer of unconditional talks from the LTTE.
"It was just a verbal offer. There was no concrete statement. There will not be any response (from the government) until there is an official offer from Prabhakaran," Yapa told newsmen here.
The verbal offer had been communicated by the LTTE's political chief, SP Tamilselvan, to the government, through the chief of the Nordic truce monitoring mission.
"There was nothing official about this," Yapa underlined.
12 LTTE cadres killed
Meanwhile, military operations against the LTTE continued with the Special Task Force (STF) counter-attacking the LTTE and killing 12 of its cadres at Pullumalai in Amparai district in South East Sri Lanka, the Ministry of Defence said on Saturday.
The STF suffered no casualties, the ministry statement said.
Aerial and ground shelling killed 257 civilians
Bombing by the Sri Lankan Air Force (SLAF) and shelling by the ground forces had killed 257 civilians in the North and East since the Sri Lankan offensive began on April 25, the LTTE has said in a release.
The LTTE's Peace Secretariat said that there were 29 aerial bombings and 21 shelling incidents targeting civilian settlements.
Among the dead were 51 school children who were undergoing First Aid training at the Sencholai orphanage in Pudukudiyiruppu on August 14.
The government, however, maintained that the kids were actually child soldiers under training and were therefore legitimate military targets.