Colombo, Dec 29: Sri Lanka can address Tamil grievances only after it officially bans the LTTE and abrogates the Norwegian-brokered ceasefire agreement, Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said.
Mr Rajapaksha, who is virtually running the ongoing aggressive military campaign against the Tamil Tiger rebels, said the 2002 February Ceasefire Agreement has ''become a joke'' in the eyes of the people with so many violations. The most sensible thing would be to end the agreement. ''Why should we hoodwink the people by saying there is a Ceasefire Agreement,'' The Daily news quoted the Defence Secretary as saying. Mr Rajapaksha, the younger brother of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, said, ''The agreement exists only on paper. Obviously we can see that there is no ceasefire.'' A truce agreement could be reached only after entering into a peace agreement and not otherwise.
Calling for the local ban on the LTTE, Defence Secretary Rajapaksa said President Rajapaksa could come out with new proposals for resolving the grievances of the Tamil people after the Ceasefire Agreement was abrogated and the LTTE banned.
Alleging that the LTTE was a terrorist organisation, he said the solutions should be given to the Tamil people. Asked whether the LTTE would be given time before the possible ban, the Defence Secretary said the President would give an opportunity to the rebels to mend their ways prior to imposing any ban.
Throwing his full weight behind the recent military success against the rebels, Mr Rajapaksa said they would finitely pave the way for a peaceful solution to the North-East problem.
The Defence Secretary's remarks came a couple of days after President Mahinda Rajapaksa at a public rally in the South vowed to crush terrorism in the island nation and said defeating the LTTE militarily was pre-requisite for finding any political solution to end the decades long bloody ethnic conflict.