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Truce not a ceasefire

Disaster Management Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe yesterday said the 48-hour truce period granted by President Mahinda Rajapaksa to free civilians out of LTTE bondage was in no way a ceasefire.

Addressing a press conference, following a meeting and a presentation by the Army Commander Sarath Fonseka to the Diplomatic community in Sri Lanka, at the Presidential Secretariat in Colombo Minister Samarasinghe told journalists that bilateral and multilateral discussions had been held with the diplomatic community pertaining to the current situation in the conflict region in the north.

“The talks centred on the performance of our war heroes in the north, were open, frank and transparent. They were also very comprehensive, informative and positive,” Minister Samarasinghe said.

Responding to queries from journalists, Minister Samarasinghe categorically stated that the Government is determined not to have a Ceasefire.

This special measure had been taken to ensure the welfare and the security of the civilians in the north, he said.

The Government in this context, was urging the LTTE to let go innocent civilians, men, women and children within the next 48-hour, to the declared ‘Safe Zone’, the Minister said.

Armed Forces have detected that the LTTE were keeping heavy weaponry near to the ‘Ceasefire Zone’. However, the Armed Forces would make sure that they strictly refrain from targeting the civilians, he said.

In relation to the ambiguity of civilian figures in Mullaitivu, the Minister said that according to statistics received from the Mullaitivu Government Ajent, there seems to be around 20,000 families. Nevertheless, the Nation Building Ministry figures reveal that there has been a duplication in the said lists.

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