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Lanka ends military ops, to rescue civilians

April 27, 2009 14:35 IST

The Sri Lankan government on Monday said the combat operations in the northern parts of the island have concluded and security forces have been instructed to end the use of heavy calibre guns, combat aircraft and aerial fire.

"The Government of Sri Lanka has decided that combat operations have reached their conclusion. Our security forces have been instructed to end the use of heavy calibre guns, combat aircraft and aerial fire which could cause civilian casualties.

"Our security forces will confine their attempts to rescuing civilians who are held hostage and give foremost priority to saving the civilians," a statement from the President Mahinda Rajapaksa's Office said.

Chidambaram welcomes Lanka move

Home Minister P Chidambaram today welcomed the Sri Lankan government's decision to stop combat operations in the island's north, saying it offered "solace" to India.

"It means cessation of hostilities.It means to the government of India that the Sri Lankan government has put an end to the ongoing offensive," Chidambaram said.

He said Colombo had instructed its security forces not to use heavy calibre guns, combat aircraft and aerial fire which could cause civilian casualties.

Chidambaram, who spoke to Karunanidhi, informing him of the Sri Lankan government's decision, told PTI from Kariakudi where he is campaigning that "Sri Lanka's announcement offers solace to us. The next course of action on the issue will be decided in consultation with all."

He said he had seen the official statement of the Sri Lankan government which had clearly instructed its forces to confine itself to save the Tamil civilians in the war zone and not to engage in combat operations.

He welcomed Chief Minister M Karunanidhi's decision to call of his indefinite fast demanding unconditional ceasefire, following Colombo's announcement.

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