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|Monday, March 26, 2001, updated at 14:36(GMT+8)|
Sri Lankan President Vows to Bring Lasting PeaceSri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga said that her government will make every effort to bring separatist Tamil Tiger rebels to the negotiating table and restore peace in her war-torn country.
It was with great reluctance that her government was waging the war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebels, she was quoted by Monday's Daily News as saying on Sunday.
Addressing 2,500 mothers of war heroes to whom she presented medals, she said that all measures would be taken to force the Tiger rebels to lay down arms and come to the negotiating table. The government wanted to bring about a swift conclusion to the mass scale bloodshed, she stressed, adding that they did not endorse the war and they disliked to see the sons of these mothers dying in the war front.
Accusing the main opposition of having made the war into a flourishing business for all their cohorts and henchmen, the president noted even now whenever peace moves are initiated they cause obstruction, according to the official newspaper.
She promised that as long as she is in power she will not allow anyone to divide Sri Lanka under any cost.
The LTTE rebels have been fighting against government forces since 1983 for a separate Tamil state in the north and east of the country. More than 60,000 people have been killed in the bloody war.
The peace process in the country has come to an impasse over the ceasefire issue despite Norway's effort to broker peace in the past two years.
The LTTE extended on Thursday their unilateral ceasefire by one more month till April 24 and warned that they would break it if the government wound not respond positively. Their ceasefire began on Christmas Eve last year.
The government has maintained that a reciprocal ceasefire is possible only after talks between the two sides make substantive progress.
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