Sri Lanka 'to suspend' fighting

Halt in offensive against LTTE aimed at allowing civilians to escape to safety.

     

    Mahinda Rajapaksa, the Sri Lanka president, said in a statement on Sunday that people should be "given uninhibited freedom of movement".

    Surrender call

    Rajapaksa also urged the LTTE to surrender.

    "In the true spirit of the season, it is timely for the LTTE to acknowledge its military defeat and lay down its weapons and surrender. The LTTE must also renounce terrorism and violence permanently," the statement said.

    Mediators of Sri Lanka's peace process - the US, UK, Norway and Japan - on Friday urged the rebel Tigers to end the "futile fighting" and urged the military not to fire into the no-fire zone.

    The Sri Lankan military denies shooting into civilian areas saying the allegations are Tiger propaganda.

    Unresolved conflict

    It has also refused all calls for a ceasefire, saying the Tigers repeatedly have used them to regroup to fight another day.

    The LTTE has so far rejected pleas to let civilians leave, insisting they were staying by choice.

    The Tigers have been fighting since 1983 for an independent state in the north and east of the island for the Tamil minority, saying Tamils have suffered decades of marginalisation at the hands of governments dominated by the Sinhalese majority.

    More than 70,000 people have been killed in the unresolved conflict to date.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    What obstacles do young women in technology have to overcome to achieve their dreams? Play this retro game to find out.

    The War in October: What Happened in 1973?

    The War in October: What Happened in 1973?

    Al Jazeera examines three weeks of war from which both Arabs and Israelis claimed to emerge victorious.