Rajapaksa rules out truce with Tamil Tigers

Colombo, April 30 (Inditop) Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa Thursday ruled out halting the fight-to-finish military campaign against the Tamil Tigers and said the time was running out for the rebels to surrender.

“We have never gone for a ceasefire with the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) and will never go for a ceasefire with them,” Rajapaksa said while addressing a rally at southern town of Embilipitiya, 200 km away from here.

“The Tigers have little time left to drop their weapons and surrender even though our military operation is at a final stage,” Rajapaksa, who is also the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, said amid applause from his audience.

The remarks have come a day after British Foreign Minister David Miliband and his French counterpart Bernard Kouchner visited the island nation but failed to get the government to agree to halt the military operations and allow aid agency access to civilians trapped in the war zone in in the northeastern Mullaitivu district.

Vowing that he would not give in to any international pressure in this regard, Rajapaksa said the current operations would be continued until the remaining civilians are rescued from the rebels.

He, however, did not name any country or names of representatives in his speech.

Accusing the international players of being “misled by the propaganda of the LTTE terrorists”, Rajapaksa said that security forces had stopped using heavy weapons and aerial attacks because “the Tigers were holding civilians hostages in a narrow strip of coastline which was just five kilometres”.

The president said it had been the practice of the Tamil Tigers to kill people “who tried to cut a deal with them”.

He said the LTTE had used the same vehicles and weapons provided to them by former Sri Lankan president Ranasinghe Premadasa to kill him on the May Day in 1993 in the streets of Colombo.

Rajapaksa said that the Tamil Tigers had also killed former Indian prime minister Rajiv Gandhi who had given LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran his own bullet-proof jacket.

“The entire world focus is on us. They are using their satellites to see what we are doing… I want to tell that the Sri Lankan military is most concerned about civilians (than anybody else) and will continue their operations to rescue them,” he said.

The LTTE has been fighting to carve out a separate state in Sri Lanka’s northern and eastern region over the past quarter century.