No ceasefire until LTTE gives up weapons: Lankan Minister

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Colombo, Nov 23 (UNI) A top Sri Lankan Minister has said the government would not go for a ceasefire deal with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) until they surrender their weapons, a state-media report said here today.

''First of all the ruthless outfit should completely disarm itself before making any announcement of a ceasefire. They cannot take the rulers of this country for a ride any more,'' the state-run Sunday Observer quoted Defence spokesman and Minister of Foreign Employment Keheliya Rambukwella, as having said.

The Minister has charged that the LTTE had deceived the entire country under the banner of ceasefire in the past.

''It was India that initiated the first ceasefire. The outfit not only violated the ceasefire, but also fought against the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) and ultimately assassinated Rajiv Gandhi as well.

But the LTTE is trying to be in the good books of the country again by shedding 'crocodile tears' and asking for a ceasefire,'' Mr Rambukwella said.

''Our Government is not idiotic to trust the LTTE any more. If the outfit disarms itself completely, we could consider a ceasefire and engage in political talks. Until then we will brook no nonsense with the terrorist organisation,'' he added.

Meanwhile, the Defence Ministry said today the Army offensive divisions in the Wanni theatre of operations ''were marching towards the Kilinochchi built up in three frontiers.'' ''According to the latest reports from the battlefront, pitched battles are going on in the North of Adampan, South of Adampan and Therumurikandi areas since early this morning,'' it added.

UNI XC RJ KP1802

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