The Sri Lankan government is steadfast in eliminating terrorism before having talks with Tamil Tiger rebels, Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayake said on Saturday.
Addressing an election rally at Medirigiriya in the North Central Province, Wickramanayake said "terrorism must be eliminated before anything. Only after that we could talk of talks. "
Wickramanayake said government troops currently engaging Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in the north have sent the rebels reeling.
"We are now knocking on their doors, having limited them to just two districts," the prime minister said.
The troops said they have entered the rebel heartland districts of Mullaithivu and Kilinochchi where their administration was headquartered.
"We will be soon ending terrorism in the country and it is the duty of everyone to support the government at decisive moment," Wickramanayake stressed.
In January this year, the Sri Lankan government formally withdrew from the six-year-old ceasefire brokered by the Norwegian peace facilitators.
The government has been insisting if the rebels want further negotiations they must lay down arms.
The LTTE has been fighting the troops since the mid-1980s in their bid to set up a separate homeland for the minority Tamils. More than 70,000 people have died in the conflict.
(Xinhua News Agency August 10, 2008)