COLOMBO June 18, Reuter: Sri Lanka’s main Tamil separatist group said on Saturday it had not yet reached an agreement with India to end the Island’s ethnic conflict.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (ETTE) said informal talks have been going on for the last three months in the South Indian city of Madras between Indian intelligence officials and a Tiger Central Committee member.

“India has not reached an agreement with LTTE on the issue of ceasefire. India is not ready to declare (A) ceasefire,” it said in a statement.

Rebel sources in Madras had said they expected a ceasefire announcement on June 18 or 21, when Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi is scheduled to visit Madras.

An External Affairs Ministry spokesman in New Delhi said on Thursday he had no information on the subject.

India signed an accord with Sir Lanka last July to help end a five year old separatist war by minority Tamils against the Sinhalese dominated Colombo government. It has about 52,000 troops in the North and East of the country.

The Tiger statement said the group wanted four issues resolved before elections to an autonomous council could be held in Sri Lanka’s northern and eastern provinces.

It said these included changing the Councils’ powers, setting up an interim administration to look after refugee Sinhalese settlers from Tamil areas.

Article extracted from this publication >> June 24, 1988