No response to ceasefire offer
[TamilNet, Saturday, 27 May 2000, 16:29 GMT]
There was no official reaction from the Sri Lankan government to the ceasefire declared unilaterally by the Liberation Tigers Friday to enable civilians in the Thenmaradchi division and other sectors of the Jaffna peninsula to move out, with the assistance of the UNHCR, to designated safer areas. Sri Lankan army headquarters sources in Colombo peremptorily dismissed the LTTE ceasefire.
A senior Sri Lankan government official however said that the question of a response did not arise as Colombo had no official intimation of the matter from the Tigers.
He said that the government, nevertheless, agrees with the Sri Lanka Army's concern that the LTTE might use the ceasefire to regroup and launch fresh attacks in the peninsula.
The LTTE said in a press release yesterday it would observe a temporary ceasefire between 10am and 10pm to allow civilians to leave the battlezones of the peninsula.
The Sri Lankan military was using civilians as human shields in areas it controls whilst indiscriminately shelling civilian centers in areas held by the Tigers, the LTTE said in its statement, adding that the ICRC and other human rights organizations had been asked to help the evacuation.