B. Muralidhar Reddy

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka on Monday reiterated that a ceasefire with the LTTE could be considered only if the Tigers were ready to lay down arms and agree to sit across the negotiating table along with other stakeholders.

The government stated its position in Parliament amid claims by the military that yet another LTTE stronghold in the Kilinochchi district had fallen.

The Defence Ministry said Kiranchi is now under control of the security forces after heavy fighting.

Minister and general secretary of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) Maithripala Sirisena told Parliament that the government had clarified its position on numerous occasions.

He was responding to a query from a member on media reports quoting the LTTE that it had always been in favour of a ceasefire. Mr. Sirisena said economic development and progress was directly linked to national security.

Separately, the military claimed that four separate confrontations with the LTTE took place in Akkarayankulam North area.

“Reports state that the LTTE terrorists suffered heavy casualties during the incidents.…”

Meanwhile, President Mahinda Rajapaksa is leaving for New Delhi to participate in the conference of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) to be held on November 13.

Mr. Rajapaksa is also scheduled to have a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.