Tamil rebels call for permanent ceasefire in Sri Lanka
Tamil rebels on Tuesday called for an unconditional permanent ceasefire as a precondition to peace talks with the Sri Lankan government.world Updated: Apr 14, 2009 13:48 IST
Tamil rebels on Tuesday called for an unconditional permanent ceasefire as a precondition to peace talks with the Sri Lankan government.
The call from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) came as the Sri Lankan security forces maintained a two-day halt in its military operations in the north of the country coinciding with traditional New Year celebrations observed throughout the country.
A rebel statement posted on the pro-rebel TamilNet website said "the ceasefire would be meaningful and constructive with the facilitation of the international community". The rebels said that a ceasefire should not be dictated solely by the objectives of Sri Lanka's military but be based on humanitarian and political objectives.
Rebels described the Sri Lankan announcement of restricting military operations for two days as an "eyewash to create an impression of engagement on false premises" and condemned the move saying it was "political drama" aimed at deceiving the international community and the Tamil people.
The LTTE claimed the army was continuing indiscriminate shelling and gunfire on civilians, an assertion denied by the military. Some 50,000 civilians remained trapped in the last rebel-controlled area located on the coast in Mullaitivu district, 395 km north-east of the capital.
The government said civilians are now trapped in an area of less than 20 square km and it would act to rescue the civilians. The military said it is in the last phase of a major offensive to recapture rebel-held areas which they launched in August 2006 to end decades of civil war.
Sri Lankan government on Monday stripped Norway of its role as one of four mediators between the government and the Tigers, who have been fighting for more than 25 years for an independent Tamil state.
The other mediators are the US, Japan and Britain.