Government seeks talks with Tigers

Sri Lanka's government has said it is ready to hold peace talks with the Tamil Tigers.

Government seeks talks with Tigers

Sri Lanka'sgovernment has said it is ready to hold peace talks with the Tamil Tigers.

The announcement comes days after Tamil rebels carried outtheir first attack on Sri Lankan forces by air. 

 

Rohitha Bogolagama, Sri Lanka'sforeign minister, said on Tuesday: "We must try to bring a comprehensiveand substantial peace.

"Our government believes that we need to talk, we needto explore all avenues."

The Tigers have yet to respond to the offer. 

 

Air attacks

The offer comes two days after Tamil Tigers used at leastone light aircraft to bomb a Sri Lankan air force base outside Colombo, the capital, inthe separatists' first air attack since they started their campaign for ahomeland for the country's Tamil minority in 1983.

Three airmen were killed in the attack and 16people wounded. No aircraft on the ground were damaged.

Apart from suicide bombings carried out by the Tigers,almost all the fighting in the two-decades long conflict has taken place inpredominantly Tamil regions in northern and eastern Sri Lanka.

But the air raid has showed the rebels can now strikeinside the southern heartland of Sri Lanka's Sinhalese majority.

'Vicious cycle'

Air force fighters also bombed three TamilTiger fighter positions in the northeast on Tuesday, accordingto Group Captain Ajantha Silva, an air force spokesman.

There was no information on damage or casualties.

Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, has called on the twosides in a statement to "break this vicious cycle of attack andretaliation" and "return to the negotiating table as soon aspossible, without preconditions".

In the years since the Tamil Tigers began their fight forindependence for the country's three million Tamils, they have pioneeredthe use of suicide bomb belts and built up a navy of small gunboats.

Hopes dashed

Hopes for peace that followed a 2002 ceasefire have beendashed by shootings and bombings over the past 18 months.

An estimated 65,000 people were killed in fighting beforethe cease-fire, and an estimated 4,000 fighters and civilians have died in thelast 18 months.

A military foot patrol shot and killed two Tamil Tigerfighters on Tuesday in northwestern Mannar, the defence ministry said onWednesday.

Earlier on Tuesday, a fighter drove an explosive-ladentractor to the Chinkaladi military camp in the eastern district of Batticaloa,drawing fire from guards and triggering a blast.

The resulting explosion killed the tractor's driver, threesoldiers and five civilians and wounded 20 people, a Sri Lankan militaryspokesman, said.

Source:Agencies

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16
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