Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayake has said his forces can "finish" the LTTE in "half-an-hour", but was concerned for the safety of the innocent civilians trapped in the last rebel-held area.
"The Government can finish off terrorism completely within half an hour if it acted in an inhuman manner. Driving out terrorists (LTTE) from a very small bastion in the north has been time consuming because the Government is acting most humanely considering the safety of civilians held by LTTE as a human shield," the Prime Minister said.
He made the observation on Wednesday, while addressing the ruling Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) activists in Horana, about 60 kms from Colombo.
Wickramanayake urged the people to unite to develop the nation, which is today at an important cross road where terrorism was to be totally wiped out.
"Once this mission was completed a much more important responsibility would be cast on the Government and the people to steer the motherland towards a development effort in a planned manner," the state run Daily News quoted him to say.
"The unity and trust placed in the Government by people as regards the humanitarian operations should be forthcoming in equal or enhanced measure during the future national development effort," he said.