'No ceasefire in Lanka; we will protect Tamilians'

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New Delhi, Nov 13: Visiting Sri Lankan President Mahindra Rajapakse on Thursday, Nov 13 said that there was no question of ordering a cease-fire against the rebel Liberation Tigers for Tamil Ealam (LTTE), and added that his government would take all necessary steps to protect Tamils in Sri Lanka. "Tamilians are our people; we have been taking care of them and we will take care," Rajapakse said.

Rajpakse told reporters in Delhi: "Since the last twenty years, we are witnessing this ceasefire. We will not allow terrorism to continue." Rajapakse also held a bilateral meeting with Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh on the sidelines of the Second BIMSTEC summit being held here. The issue of attacks on Indian fisherman also came up during the talks.

Earlier in his inaugral speech at the summit, Rajapakse said terrorist are using the Bay of Bengal to transport terror. Rajapakse told an Indian english daily that the Maldives had also reportedly accused Indian fishermen of carrying arms for the LTTE. He asserted that the Tigers were exploiting the issue, but added that he is still open for discussion.

Appreciating India's efforts to provide humanitarian assistance to displaced Tamils, Rajapakse said he would not let the conflict pass onto the future generations. Prime Minister Singh urged BIMSTEC leaders to cooperate in the area of improving maritime security in the Bay of Bengal. Singh's proposal is being seen as a response to Rajapakse's insistence on carrying on attacks on the LTTE and allegations of Indian fisherman carrying arms for the Tamil Tigers. The move is expected to further strain the relationship between the UPA and its ally, the DMK. By Naveen Kapoor


ANI

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