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Grab LTTE’s truce offer, India tells Lanka
Tribune News Service

Vaiko, partymen held

Tuticorin: MDMK chief Vaiko and some of his partymen were today arrested when they attempted to show black flags to External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee. Vaiko and his party members were protesting against Centre’s “inaction” on the Sri Lankan Tamil issue.

New Delhi, February 27
India today appealed to the Sri Lankan government to seize the Tamil Tigers rebels’ ceasefire offer and facilitate the movement of Tamil population out of the war-affected areas to secure locations, where they can get humanitarian aid.

“While this (ceasefire offer by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam - LTTE) may fall short of a declaration of willingness to lay down arms, it is our view that the Government of Sri Lanka should seize the opportunity presented by the offer to bring about a pause in the hostilities,” External Affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee said in a statement.

“The Government of India would, therefore, appeal to the Government of Sri Lanka to immediately work out safe passage for trapped civilians to secure locations,” Mukherjee said. “This would require the cooperation of the LTTE,” he emphasised.

With the suffering of civilians on mind, Mukherjee underscored India’s “grave concern over the humanitarian crisis that is building up with every passing day in Sri Lanka.”

“There are reports that over 70,000 civilians are trapped in the conflict zone in Sri Lanka and there is acute shortage of food, water and medicines,” he said.

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