Sri Lanka on Sunday said it was willing to hold peace talks with Tamil Tigers after a rebel offer to renew the stalled negotiations, but the LTTE denied having made any such overture.
Government troops and the rebels meanwhile fought ground battles and artillery duels in northern Jaffna peninsula as the weekend death toll rose to 186.
Sri Lankan Policy Planning Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) approached the government through truce monitors on Friday to revive their stalled negotiations and the government agreed.
"We have told them that the arrangements are already in place for our talks that should have been held some time ago," Rambukwella said. "We are ready even now, and we hope they will now agree to start talks immediately."
However, the LTTE's Peace Secretariat chief S Puleedevan said they had not made any fresh offer of talks.
'It is a total fabrication to say I made an offer of talks," Puleedevan said.
"I told Head of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission that Colombo has made up its mind towards a military solution despite the goodwill gestures extended by the LTTE last Friday," Puleedevan was quoted as saying in the Tamilnet website.
"It is the Sri Lankan government that continues to believe in military solution to the conflict," Puleedevan said and denied that the Tigers were seeking renewed peace talks.