Sri Lanka orders ceasefire during Tamil New Year

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Mahinda Rajapaksa
Colombo, Apr 12: Mahinda Rajapaksa, the Sri Lankan President on Sunday, Apr 12 ordered his troops to follow 'defensive operations against the Tamil Tigers (LTTE) during the Sinhala and Tamil New Year on Apr 14. The New Year is a national festival in the island nation.

A statement released by the President's office read, "As the nation celebrate the traditional Sinhala and Tamil New Year, His Excellency the President is deeply conscious of the need to give the civilian population entrapped as hostages by the ruthless actions of the LTTE the opportunity to celebrate these festivities in a suitable atmosphere and to have uninhibited freedom of movement from the No Fire Zone to the cleared areas."

Rajapaksa also reiterated his call to Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to lay down arms and accept defeat. President's order came amid increasing international pressure on the Lankan government to protect civilians in its fight against LTTE. However the Sri Lankan government forces said that they are close to crushing the LTTE.

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