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Lanka to terminate truce agreement with LTTE

By T V Sriram in Colombo
Last updated on: January 03, 2008 00:57 IST
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Apparently emboldened by its recent military successes against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, the Sri Lankan government on Wednesday night decided to scrap its ceasefire agreement with the rebel outfit that was signed in 2002.

There would, however, be no ban on the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam as of now.

"We have decided to give notice for abrogation of the ceasefire agreement though there is no ban on LTTE as of now," a top government official told PTI after a cabinet meeting.

Defence spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella later said, "The government has taken a policy decision not to have any further agreement with a terrorist outfit since Norway-facilitated 2002 ceasefire agreement has failed."

Under the Norwegian-brokered truce agreement, it was said 'the accord shall remain in force until notice of termination is given by either party to the Royal Norwegian government'. Such a notice would have to be given 14 days in advance of the effective date of termination, it had said.

More than 5,000 people have been killed in fighting between the military and the LTTE since December 2005 when the first major violation of the agreement took place with the rebels launching an attack against the government.

The situation deteriorated in the subsequent months with clashes between the two sides becoming an almost daily feature.

The move by the government to formally end the ceasefire follows its recent military successes against the LTTE, including the killing of the rebels' political wing chief S P Thamilselvan.

The LTTE had been fighting since 1983 for a separate homeland for ethnic minority Tamils in Sri Lanka. About 70,000 people lost their lives in the conflict.

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T V Sriram in Colombo
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