Home International Only India can involve in Sri Lanka, says Rajapakse

Only India can involve in Sri Lanka, says Rajapakse


Colombo : No country but India can involve in Sri Lanka's ethnic conflict, President Mahinda Rajapakse said in an interview published Friday, adding that there was a need to weaken the Tamil Tigers.

In an interview with Al-Jazeera TV channel, Rajapakse also said that his increasing emphasis on military action was only a minor element in the pursuit of a political compromise.

Asked if talk of a humanitarian intervention or a Kosovo-style imposed separation of Sri Lanka disturbs him, the state-run Daily News quoted Rajapakse as saying that there was only one country "that can acceptably involve itself in Sri Lanka – the giant next door, India.

"India's support is necessary. There must be more support from the Indian government."

The president accused European leaders in particular of callously stopping humanitarian aid for tsunami victims.

Sri Lanka "is not a colony of England, America or any other country" he said, accusing those who criticise his policies of interfering in Sri Lanka's internal affairs.

He said a political solution was his only aim but at the same time he wanted to militarily weaken Velupillai Prabhakaran, who heads the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

He added that the LTTE would have to stop fighting first but could retain its arms.

"I am ready (for talks) if Prabhakaran is ready. We have said that very clearly. I am ready but I am not prepared to kneel before the terrorism of the LTTE. I have said that many times.

"If I am attacked, I will counter attack. That is what we have done on every occasion. Until the terrorists are weakened, they will not come for talks," he said.

The president also said that security forces had cleared the island's east from the LTTE and it won't be long "before Prabhakaran realises that he has no choice but to negotiate.

"We have weakened them. When he is weak he talks about peace. When he becomes strong, then he wants war."