I do not believe in military solution: Rajapaksa

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Colombo, Jan 22 (UNI) Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, today said he does not believe in a military solution to end the bloody ethnic crisis, but at the same time would give no room for terrorism in the island nation.

''I do not believe in a military solution and this (ethnic problem) needs a political solution. At the same time I cannot give room for terrorism and it would be appropriately dealt with,'' President Rajapaksa told reporters at a special interaction in the heavily-guarded Temple Trees today.

President Rajapaksa's remarks have come at a time when the government troops and the Tamil Tiger rebels have locked in fierce fighting in the northern Wanni, Mannar region.

The Ministry of Defence claimed that at least 16 LTTE cadres were killed during several sporadic clashes with them in the northern battlefront yesterday.

He said that he was expecting soon a comprehensive set of devolution proposals from the All Party Representative Committee (APRC) appointed by him two years ago to work out a devolution proposal.

''I have called for a report from the APRC and I hope they will come out with something very soon,'' the President said.

Indirectly lashing out at some of the members of the international community who are urging his government to go for political dialogue with the LTTE, despite banning the LTTE as a foreign terrorist organisation in their own countries, President Rajapaksa said that the terrorists cannot be identified as ''good terrorists and bad terrorists.'' ''As far as I am concerned, there is no good terrorist and bad terrorist in the world. You have to fight out terrorism everywhere,'' said the President who is also the Minister of Defence and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, adding that his government unilaterally abrogated the Norwegian-brokered truce deal with the LTTE as it was reduced to an empty document with thousands of violations.

Slamming the LTTE of attacking civilians in the Southern Sri Lanka, where at least 42 civilians were killed within a matter of three days last week, President Rajapaksa expressed strong suspicion that 'some groups' in the Southern Sri Lanka could be helping the rebel groups to carry out such attacks.

''I personally feel that the LTTE cannot carry out these attacks deep in the South without the support of some groups. We are conducting investigation in this regard at the moment,'' President Rajapaksa said.

He said the motive behind the LTTE attacks in the South was to divert the attention of the troops from pressing ahead with their military onslaughts in the North.

UNI XC PD RN1759

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