Indian envoys meet Rajapaksa, no word on truce (Lead)

Colombo, April 24 (Inditop) Indian Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon and National Security Advisor M.K. Narayanan Friday held talks with Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and then flew back home, with Colombo hinting that the offensive against the Tamil Tigers will continue.

Narayanan and Menon met the president at his official residence Temple Trees for about 90 minutes after flying into Colombo by a special aircraft amid mounting international concerns about the plight of Tamil civilians trapped in the narrow strip of war zone in the island’s north.

Narayanan and Menon did not speak to the media, but a presidential spokesperson said the meeting “went off very well”. The official provided no details.

A government source, however, said the Indian officials did not insist on a ceasefire and added that there would be no truce in the fighting against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

Narayanan and Menon, who regularly keep in touch with their Sri Lankan counterparts, earlier flew from the airport near Colombo to the capital by helicopter.

India sent the officials as the exodus of Tamil civilians from the war zone escalated into a serious humanitarian crisis even as Colombo claimed that the Tamil rebels were about to be crushed.

Sri Lanka estimates that 106,000 Tamil civilians – men, women and children – have so far fled the LTTE zone and taken shelter in military-held areas.

“We are very unhappy at the continued killings in Sri Lanka. All killings must stop. There must be an immediate cessation of all hostilities,” Indian External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee had said in a statement in New Delhi late Thursday.