Colombo, Nov 16: Mahinda Rajapaksa, President of Sri Lanka on Saturday, Nov 15 urged the Tamil Tiger rebels to surrender arms and invited them for talks. He said this hours after the Sri Lankan army declared that they had captured the LTTE's (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) major naval bastion in the north of Lanka.
The advancing troops entered Pooneryn, a strong hold of LTTE, backed by artillery bombardment. The Defence ministry said that fierce battle between the troops and rebels are on and the tigers were withdrawing. President Rajapaksa, who is also Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, in a televised address to the nation Saturday, Nov 15 morning announced the capture of Pooneryn and said that the troops were now in a position to open a land route to Jaffna (A-32) along the coastal belt nearly after two decades.
"I clearly tell the LTTE and its leader Velupillai Prabhakaran at this moment to lay down all their weapons and come for talks with us immediately. Laying down of weapons and surrendering will be a great service he could do for the people in the north," Rajapaksa said in his address, minutes after heading a National Security Council Meeting at his official residence, Temple Trees. President also thanked the three forces for their effort and success. He also thanked the people for their cooperation.
Pooneryn is one of the last major LTTE naval point on the western coastal belt, from where the rebels in the past have used their long-range artillery and mortar guns to fire at military targets. However there was no immediate reaction from the LTTE on the latest military claims.