COLOMBO: Sri Lanka on Monday said it has not declared a ceasefire with the LTTE, but has only announced that heavy calibre weapons will not used while rescuing thousands of civilians trapped in the northern war zone.
The government said as the security forces are now close to victory it will in no form leave a breather for the LTTE or its leaders by offering a truce.
“There is no ceasefire. The Government will go ahead with their operation to get the civilians out of the ‘No Fire Zone’ who are being held hostage by the LTTE,” said Lakshman Hullagulle, Director-General of the Media Centre for National Security.
He said the government today instructed security forces not to use of heavy caliber guns, combat aircraft and aerial weapons which could cause civilian casualties.
Meanwhile, the Defence Ministry said the government’s announcement is in line with its policy of ‘Zero Civilian Casualty Policy (ZCC). A senior official also refuted media reports that the government has announced a ceasefire. The official described the logic behind the government’s decision “as an exhibit of its grave concern to avoid any form of collateral-damage while surging into the remaining five sq km swathe of coast, south of Valayarmadam and Vellamullivaikkal.”
“This is the same and an extension of what the security forces have been continuing since the fall of Mullaittivu, as terrorists resorted to taking thousands of civilians as hostage,” the official said. Asked whether the latest announcement was made under international pressure, he said it was was not a reaction to any “international pressure” but solely timed with the success of the ongoing “World’s largest hostage rescue operation”. “Security forces are now reaching victory and in no form will leave a breather for the internationally banned terrorist outfit or its leaders who are much wanted for thousands of war crimes and crimes against humanity” the official said. He said “some immediate media jargons made misinterpreting the government declaration as a “cessation of hostilities cum ceasefire”. “This is a crude and an unethical way of media ‘reportage’, a blatant twist of the original statement, perpetrated to motivate the hell-bent terrorist sympathisers cum political clouts,” the official said.