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Last updated: 18 April, 2008 - Published 17:02 GMT
 
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Govt. 'extends' war deadline
 
Basil Rajapaksa
Mr. Rajapaksa says security forces captured Sampur on the request of Muslim leaders
The Sri Lanka government has extended the self-imposed deadline to defeat the Tamil Tigers in the north.

Senior Presidential Advisor, Basil Rajapaksa, MP, pledged to hoist the Sri Lankan flag in rebel-held areas by the end of the current Sinhala and Tamil New Year.

Army Commander, Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka, and the government has earlier vowed to "wipe out" the Tamil Tigers by April, this year.

War 'depend upon election'

Addressing an election meeting in Kantale, President Rajapaksa’s younger brother said the government’s decision whether to continue with the war would depend upon the outcome of the elections.

His remarks implicated that the government would only continue with the war if the governing coalition, which includes TMVP, wins the PC polls.

SLA Commander, Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka
Lt. Gen. Fonseka pledged to 'defeat the LTTE' by April, this year

Opposition parties and human rights watchdogs have called on the authorities to disarm the Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Puligal (TMVP) led by Pillayan, before the elections.

Basil Rajapaksa added that the government decided to launch an offensive against the LTTE after Muslim leaders pleaded with the President to capture Sampoor.

Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) leader, Rauff Hakeem, was among those who pleaded with the President to "liberate" Sampoor, according to Mr. Rajapaksa.

The government earlier categorically denied launching any offensives, which was prohibited under the truce signed with the rebels, saying that the security forces were only “retaliating” to LTTE attacks in the east.

The eastern Provincial Council (PC) elections are to be held on 10 May.

 
 
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