'LTTE seeking help of Indian leaders to escape defeat'

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Colombo, Oct 19 : Sri Lankan Government has said that the Tamil tigers are making desperate efforts to rope in Indian leaders to stop the ongoing offensives against them.

"It is very clear that the LTTE is at a decisive stage. And no one can stop them getting defeated. So, they are trying their maximum to get Tamil Nadu (leaders) to pressurise the Indian government to pressurise the Sri Lankan government," said Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, brother of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

"That is what the LTTE want and that is why this sudden pressure is coming. The (Sri Lankan) Government expects this situation, as we know there is no other way for the LTTE. Anyway, the LTTE cannot escape facing military offensives now," he added.

Gotabhaya comment comes a day after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday asked President Rajapaksa to ensure that Tamils do not get "enmeshed" in the conflict with LTTE and that their rights and safety are upheld.

During a telephonic conversation initiated by Rajapaksa, Dr Singh said there could be no military solution to the conflict in the island country and asked the President to start a political process for a peacefully negotiated settlement within the framework of a united Sri Lanka.

Rajapaksa also sought reciprocity from India on permitting fishing in each others territorial waters.

Gotabhaya said the Tamil Nadu Government should educate its fishermen about Sri Lanka's security concerns instead of putting pressure on Colombo on the sensitive issue.

He said as a good gesture, the Sri Lankan Government has allowed the Indian fishermen to carry on fishing in its territory.

"They (the LTTE) pretend to be fishermen to carry out these attacks and smuggle weapons. We have asked them not to fish in areas which are very close to military camps and navel bases," Gotabhaya added.

Stating that Sri Lanka had long-term bilateral ties with India, he said New Delhi should render more assistance to "counter terrorism".

ANI

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