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Lanka offers amnesty to surrendering Tigers, rejects dialogue

T V Sriram in Colombo | February 06, 2009 01:42 IST

 Sri Lanka [Images] offered virtual amnesty to Tamil Tigers who surrender to troops on Thursday, but rejected an appeal by US-led donors to declare a 'no-fire' period and initiate a political dialogue with the beleaguered rebels.
    
On the battlefield, the military dealt another major blow to the LTTE [Images], capturing the last Sea Tiger base in Chalai after
killing four top guerrilla leaders and took full control of rebel-held Vishuamadu area in Mullaittivu.
    
"Those LTTE cadres who lay down the arms and want to surrender will be welcomed with honour," Prime Minister
Ratnasiri Wickremanayake told Parliament.
    
Wickremanayake said there were reports that groups of Tigers were ready to give themselves up and termed it a "wise decision".
    
However, the government ruled out any suspension of offensive against the LTTE which, it says, is on the brink of total defeat. President Mahinda Rajapaksa had earlier made it clear that there would be no pardon for top LTTE leadership.
    
Colombo also rejected the plea of US-led donor countries for a temporary 'no-fire period' in the island's north. The
Tokyo co-chairs (Norway, Japan [Images], US and EU) had on Tuesday asked both the government and LTTE to announce a pause in the war to allow trapped civilians to leave the conflict zone.
    
"The so-called 'no-fire' period" would be "detrimental to Sri Lanka's efforts to wipe out terrorism," Defence Secretary
Gotabhaya Rajapaksa told the Island



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