Sri Lanka's forces ready to meet rebel threats, top general says

Sri Lanka's newly appointed top military general said Tuesday his forces are ready to meet any threats from Tamil Tiger rebels. "We are ready for any situation ... we have not dropped our guard," Maj. Gen. Sarath Fonseka told reporters after officially taking his post. "I have not lost a single battle. I hope to remain a challenge to any terrorist group or their activities," said Fonseka, a battle-hardened soldier with 35 years in the infantry.

He said the military could meet any rebel threat, "but it is our bounden duty to further preserve the status quo with utmost patience," referring to an uneasy cease-fire signed by the two sides in 2002.

The truce came under a new threat Tuesday with the killing of six Sri Lankan soldiers in the north, home to most of the 3.2 million Tamil ethnic minority.

The rebels have been battling since 1983 for a separate homeland for the Tamils. Peace talks collapsed a year after the truce was signed, reports the AP. Photo:AP I.L.

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