B. Muralidhar Reddy

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka has no plans for a “major offensive” in the territory currently under the control of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), according to Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama. The government-run paper Daily News quoted the Minister currently on a visit to Malaysia, as saying that the main priority of the Rajapaksa regime is to find a political solution to the ethnic conflict. “We want the LTTE to return to the negotiating table,” the Minister was quoted as saying. He has also claimed that consensus proposals from an All Party Representative Committee on devolution of power would be announced within a few weeks. The statement attributed to the Foreign Minister said the forces have no plans for an offensive in the LTTE-held northern territory, in contrast to the reported remarks by Defence Secretary Gothabaya Rajapaksa earlier in the week that the focus of the troops would now shift to north after “the liberation of the east” from the clutches of the Tigers. Separately, the LTTE claimed that the military has mandated more than 400,000 Jaffna civilians over the age of 10 to get special identity cards within two weeks. “Earlier, the SLA [Sri Lanka Army] has ordered those who live within Jaffna Municipal Council who are over the age of 10 to get the ID card. Now, this order had been extended to all civilians in the Jaffna peninsula”, the LTTE Peace Secretariat said in a statement.