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Ready for ceasefire and talks, says LTTE

July 11, 2008 03:16 IST

Facing a concerted military offensive by the Sri Lankan army in its stronghold of Jaffna peninsula, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam has expressed readiness for ceasefire and peace talks with the island government.

LTTE's political wing chief, V Nadesan, on Thursday said that the group was ready for a ceasefire now, while accusing the Sri Lankan government of 'abrogating' the six-year-long ceasefire, which came to an end early this year.

Nadesan, in a telephonic interview to Times Now television channel, said the LTTE was not against peace negotiations.
'Yes' was his answer when asked whether the LTTE was for the ceasefire starting again.

'It is the Sri Lankan State that unilaterally abrogated the ceasefire agreement and is unleashing a war against the Tamils in their homeland,' he charged.

'We are not against ceasefire or peace talks,' he said.

Asked about the petition filed by Nalini, sentenced to life in the Rajiv Gandhi Assassination case, seeking premature release, Nadesan said the LTTE believed that holistic changes will take place and the Indian government 'will recognise the legitimate aspirations of Tamil people and their freedom struggle. And Nalini's release will start the holistic change'.

He also termed Priyanka Vadhra's visit to the Vellore prison to meet Nalini a few months ago as a 'humanitarian gesture'. LTTE, which was indicted in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination, continues to be banned in India.

Nadesan's interview came as the Sri Lankan military chief LT Gen Sarath Fonseka claimed on June 30 that LTTE had lost capability to fight as a conventional force and its cadre strength had dropped to 5000 from 8000 in August 2006.

Nadesan said weakening of the Eelam movement will 'definitely undermine' Indian interest in the region, paving way for anti-Indian forces to gain a stronghold.

Referring to reports of Indian military aiding the Lankan armed forces, he said the Indian government had 'wrongly identified the partner'.

'It (Sri Lanka [Images] government) has always been working against Indian interest in the area (region); once again the (Sri Lankan) government is going to cheat the Indian government,' he said.

About support from some political leaders in Tamil Nadu, he said their backing was a 'support to their brothers and sisters in Tamil Eelam to achieve their legitimate aspirations and freedom'.

On the recent escalation of 'war' in Sri Lanka and LTTE's strategy to face it, he said: 'We always use various military strategies according to the political and military conditions on the ground. Tamil people are giving full support to our struggle. We are confident we can pass any obstacle in the freedom struggle with the help of our people.'

He denied that his outfit suffered huge losses due to the escalation and its morale was at the lowest ebb.

He also brushed aside claims by the Sri Lankan Army that LTTE leader V Prabhakaran would be captured alive soon and said 'our leader is carrying on his work'.

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