Sri Lanka Tigers declare ceasefire for S. Asia summit

July 22, 2008 (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s separatist Tamil Tiger rebels declared Tuesday a ceasefire with the military during a 10-day meeting of South Asian leaders starting here this week. There was no immediate comment from Colombo on the ceasefire.

Sri Lanka’s army chief said last week that his forces had wiped out two-thirds of the Tamil Tigers’ military capability, and that the conflict with the rebels was at its tail-end. The Tigers said the unilateral ceasefire was an attempt to help ensure the success of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) conference in the capital.

“Our movement will observe a unilateral ceasefire .. during the period of the SAARC conference from 26th July to 4th August and give our cooperation for the success of the conference,” the Tamil Tigers said in a statement.

Sri Lanka is hosting the 15th SAARC summit which groups Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan as well as Sri Lanka.

However the rebels said they would be forced to take “defensive action” if Colombo failed to respect the gesture and the military carried out any offensives against them.

“If the occupying Sinhala forces (milita