President tells British PM:
No pause necessary
The request by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown for a pause in
military action was deemed as unnecessary by President Mahinda Rajapaksa
considering the unexpected exodus of 35,000 civilians to the cleared
areas from the No Fire Zone (NFZ). This was said by President Rajapaksa
during a telephone conversation initiated by the British Prime Minister,
President Rajapaksa observed that this movement of civilians had
evoked a completely new situation and he had instructed that additional
consignments of food, medicine and other essentials be dispatched to
these civilians who are sheltered.
He explained that the people took to fleeing to the cleared areas
amidst shooting and other forms of intimidation by the LTTE, now holed
up in the NFZ. Subsequently by evening, another 5,000 people had moved
out of the NFZ along the beach front to the North, he said.
President Rajapaksa pointed out that he has a responsibility to take
care of the welfare of these civilians and is committed to providing the
required facilities and conditions.
He assured the British Prime Minister that these displaced persons
would be re-settled in their areas of habitation within the shortest
possible time, following the clearance of landmines, which is being done
with the assistance of the UN, and when the environment is secured. He
also referred to the need for infrastructure development in Kilinochchi
and other areas that had been under LTTE control all these years.
With regard to the political process, President Rajapaksa outlined
that once terrorism has been eliminated, political proposals in terms of
the Sri Lankan agenda, which are at present being formulated will be
He elaborated that already steps had been taken to implement the 13th
Amendment to the Constitution. He hoped that the Tamil National Alliance
which had hitherto rejected his invitation to participate in political
consultations would participate in this process in the near future. The
President also explained to the British Prime Minister that he envisages
the holding of Local government elections in the district of Jaffna
within the next two months.
On inquiry by Prime Minister Brown with regard to the status of his
Special Envoy to Sri Lanka, President Rajapaksa informed that Sri
Lanka’s position on the non-acceptability of the said appointment
The President stated that this situation had been further compounded
with the participation of the appointee at a Conference held in London
recently where it was resolved to establish a sovereign state of Tamil
Eelam, which is the doctrine of the LTTE, and the remarks he had made
He stated, however, that in deference to the traditional warm
relations between the two countries, that while there is a standing
invitation from Sri Lanka to the UK for a high level visit, a
cross-party parliamentary delegation could also undertake a visit for
which the timing could be worked out through diplomatic channels.