Sri Lanka rejects Co-Chairs’ call for surrender negotiations

[TamilNet, Thursday, 05 February 2009, 10:56 GMT]
The Sri Lankan government has rejected the call by the Co-Chairs (US, EU, Japan and Norway) for the Tamil Tigers to negotiate terms of surrender with Colombo. Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa told the BBC that the government would accept only "unconditional surrender".

Saying the LTTE would probably lose its remaining controlled areas in the North soon, the Co-Chairs had urged the Tigers to negotiate with Colombo terms for a surrender.

The Co-Chairs suggested this would avoid further bloodshed amongst civilians, scores of whom are being killed by the Sri Lankan military’s bombardment of hospitals and camps for displaced people.

However, Rajapaksa told the BBC: "There is no question of negotiations on surrender. The rebels should surrender unconditionally. They should lay down their arms first."

The Tigers have said they will not lay down their arms until they have a "guarantee of living with freedom and dignity and sovereignty", the BBC reported.

Rajapaksa ruled out any amnesty for top LTTE leaders, but said that "lower level cadres" would be "given amnesty, retrained, given vocational training and integrated into mainstream society".

Rajapakse also rejected US-led international calls for a ceasefire, saying that the Tigers had used ceasefire time "only to regroup and attack security forces".

"When the government declared a 48-hour ceasefire period last week, the rebels used the period to launch suicide attacks near the frontlines using three trucks loaded with explosives," he claimed.


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