Sri Lanka rebels say no peace talks until fighting stops

May 20, 2007 (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s separatist Tamil rebels on Sunday vowed never to return to peace negotiations unless the government halts a military campaign against them. . The leader of the political wing of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), S. P. Thamilselvan, said attacks by government forces would not force them to compromise.

Thamilselvan told the pro-rebel tamilnet.com website the government was trying to present the campaign as part of the “war on terror” to win international support.

“The LTTE and the Tamil people under no circumstances will come to the table in a position of political and military weakness,” Thamilselvan said amid clashes between troops and the Tigers across the island’s northeast.

“It is a fallacy to think that by weakening the LTTE, the movement can be forced to compromise on its political stand.”

Tiger rebels have suffered territorial losses in the east since fighting escalated in January.

But the guerrillas took the conflict to a new level in March by using light aircraft for the first time to attack government military installations.

“… only when Tamils are strong, there is a chance that the (major