Kadirgamar says paying dearly for arms

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 16 May 2000, 20:41 GMT]
"What is the message that you would like to give Prabhakaran at this juncture?" asked Dilip Ganguly, the Colombo correspondent of Associated Press, as Sri Lanka's Foreign Minister Mr.Lakshman Kadirgamar was winding up his press conference today. The Minister replied "Is it not time for you (Prabhaharan) to say 'I've seen a good battle; now it must end' ?" Mr.Kadirgamar ruled out the possibility of his government getting down foreign troops to fight the Liberation Tigers.

The Foreign Minister said that the government needs 174 million US Dollars more to buy weapons for the war against the Tigers. (The government said last week that it has to raise 800 million US Dollars to buy armaments) Mr.Kadirgamar said that the government is not getting any free military assistance from any country. Emphasising the point, he said "There is no such thing as a free lunch. We are paying for it; we are paying for it dearly".

The Minister claimed that no Israeli troops have arrived in Sri Lanka. While ruling out chances of any foreign troop involvement in the war against the Tigers, Mr.Kadirgamar said that humanitarian assistance, however, would be welcome.

He claimed that the Indian government has not officially communicated its wish to mediate in the conflict. Asked about the difficulty India may face in dealing with the Tigers directly in view of the organisation's legal status in that country, Mr. Kadirgamar said that the Indian ban on the LTTE will not be a "fatal impediment" in mediating in the Sri Lankan conflict.

 

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