Minister tells ‘BBC HARDtalk’:
Automatic ceasefire, if LTTE lays down arms
If the LTTE lays down their weapons tomorrow, there will not be any
reason for us to fight. There will be an automatic ceasefire.
As long as the LTTE is using weapons, as long as the LTTE is not
allowing the civilians to leave, their freedom of movement being
restricted, the civilians being shot and killed in cold blood and
massive human rights violations being committed against the civilian
population, our job is to ensure that this kind of terrorism is wiped
out once and for all, said Disaster Management and Human Rights Minister
Mahinda Samarasinghe in BBC HARDtalk interviewed by Stephen Sackur last
Monday, March 2, 2009.
Countering allegations on the use of heavy weapons Minister
Samarasinghe said, “There is absolutely no justification to use heavy
weapons and, in fact, about ten days ago, the Armed Forces took a
conscious decision not to use any heavy weapons. As you know, the LTTE
is now restricted in fact to a very small area of about 48 sq. km. and
we cannot use heavy weapons.”
“We have never targeted civilians and we will never target civilians,
because, as I mentioned earlier, our fight is to liberate the civilians
from terrorism We consciously avoided civilian areas because as I said
earlier, what is the objective as far as the Government is concerned in
targeting civilians, who are our own people.
“These are Sri Lankans whom we are trying to liberate from the
clutches of terrorism,” he added.
Commenting on the allegation that civilians that have come from the
LTTE held area are being kept for three years the Minister put the
He said: “The plan has always been to resettle them in the shortest
possible time but we cannot afford to take short-cuts... The demining
has to take place, the basic infrastructure has to be put in place,
services have to be provided, ‘go and see’ visits have to take place.
We cannot force anyone to go back to their villages.
It has to be an informed choice that the people themselves make. We
do not want to keep these people a day later than we can help to avoid.”