The Tri Services Chiefs and the Inspector General of Police yesterday pledged that they will uphold the Oslo arranged Peace Agreement to the letter and warned that the isolated provocative acts by the LTTE will not be tolerated at all. They said the armed forces will take every step to prevent such violence. However, they cautioned the LTTE, who have been waging a 20-year-old civil war in the country, that the security forces are fully prepared to face any eventuality. Our prime concern is the `Peace, Security and Law and Order` of the country. They were of the opinion that the ultimate solution to this prolonged question is a political one.
The top rungers in the security establishment and Law Enforcement were addressing the media at a conference called to explain the current security situation in the country.
Chief of Defence Staff Admiral Daya Sandagiri termed the sporadic attacks, sparked by the Tiger rebels. as a strategy to provoke the government troops to retaliate and pass the blame on them. `We are quite aware of their plans and are ready to face the challenge` he stressed.He said `We will wholeheartedly support the political objectives spelt out by the government`.
IGP Chandra Fernando refused to call the atrocities committed by the armed guerrillas, violating the CFA, as acts war and termed them as`crimes`.
Answering a question on why the Army had not reacted to the LTTE killings, Army Commander Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka said `We cannot overreact, LTTE can hit their target and run away, but the soldiers have to think of the safety of the civilians around and the Army can`t act like terrorists`.
`We are trained to fight any type of war, conventional or otherwise and we have to keep changing our strategies`, he said acknowledging that LTTE too has acquired a certain degree of capability in conventional warfare.`
Asked if the Army has the full powers to use their discretion in a crisis, he said political leadership has never interfered with their decisions. But when some failed they attributed their failures to the government, he said adding `We have full powers to implement our decisions and we have conducted major offensives against the enemy successfully.`
Responding to a question, Lt. Gen. Fonseka said LTTE`s strength was only around 10,000 cadres and they don`t have the capability to wage a full scale war against the 150,000 strong armed forces in the country, who are capable of facing a high intensity war.
Asked about LTTE possessing more sophisticated arms than the security forces he dismissed the claim saying that they only have a few prototype weapons.
Chief of Defence Staff Daya Sandagiri said `We are satisfied with the allocations made by the government as we have to consider the `country`s economic situation first, but we are in the process of acquiring the necessary military hardware`.
SLAF Commander Air Marshal Donald Perera said that the restoration of the Palaly airfield executed with Indian assistance will be completed in a few months.