Tamil Rebels Appeal to British, French to Negotiate a Ceasefire
Cornered Tamil tigers have appealed to Britain and France to broker a ceasefire putting an end to Lankan government military offensive that threatens to wipe out the rebels.
In a letter to the British and Frence Foreign ministers, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) said that they wanted a ceasefire to end decades of conflict. The two ministers visited Sri Lank last week.
In the letter, which was also emailed to news organization, the tigers said that they are ready to engage in the process to bring about a ceasefire and enter into negotiations for an enduring resolution to the conflict.
However, promptly rejecting the tigers’ truce offer made last Sunday, Sri Lankan government said that it vowed to fight on until the separatist guerrillas were completely defeated.
Britain’s Foreign Minister David Miliband and his French counterpart Bernard Kouchner left Sri Lanka on Thursday after urging the government to stop the fighting and allow humanitarian access to the conflict zone.
Yasushi Akashi, a special envoy sent by Japan, the Lanka’s chief foreign aid donor, wrapped up a three-day visit on Saturday by calling for civilians caught up in the violence to be protected.
He asked the remaining Tigers, who are hemmed in the island’s northeast coast, to allow tens of thousands of trapped civilians out of the conflict area.
The Japanese envoy also asked the government to improve conditions for more than 100,000 Tamil civilians held in state-run camps.