The Lanka Academic

MAY 17, 2000 EST, USA
VOL. 1, NO. 42

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2544th Vesak anniversary: 5/17
Let there be peace in Sri Lanka, soon!
Sri Lankan rebels target airport in drive to take Jaffna
CNN, May 18, 2000. Artillery shells threatened the supply line for government troops battling Tamil Tiger rebels for the northern Sri Lankan city of Jaffna on Wednesday, as the rebel troops bombarded Jaffna peninsula's only airport. More... Watch
Published: Wed May 17 23:41:47 EDT 2000

Sri Lankan Rebels Say Overran Military Complex
Yahoo, Wednesday May 17 9:31 PM ET. The Tigers said in a statement released in London on Wednesday night that their commandos had stormed over defense lines at the Kaithadi military complex, about three miles from the entrance to Jaffna city.The LTTE statement also said more than 100 government soldiers had been killed and several hundreds wounded in the 12-hour long attack on Kaithadi. More..
Published: Wed May 17 21:47:41 EDT 2000

Picture Gallery
Times of India. Indian naval commandos keep vigil at the Forward Observation Post at Land's End (Aritchalmunai) at the tip of the mainland. More..
Published: Wed May 17 20:45:14 EDT 2000

Kaithady military complex falls to LTTE, over 100 troops dead
The Pioneer, May 17. The LTTE today claimed to have killed over 100 Sri Lankan troops and overrun the military complex at Kaithady, about five km away from the entry point of Jaffna peninsula.

The LTTE said in a statement here that the strategically important Kaithady garrison town with its heavily fortified military bases came under its control after fierce fighting which lasted 12 hours. More..
Published: Wed May 17 20:32:22 EDT 2000

Dancing with tigers
National Post. Mr. Martin and Ms. Minna think the dinner commemorated the "Tamil New Year" and denied that the dinner was a FACT fundraiser for the Tamil Tigers, the terrorist organization that is fighting for a separate ethnic state in northern Sri Lanka. Of FACT, Ms. Minna was nonchalant: "we can't judge if there's one or two individuals who may be involved with terrorist activities."

This insistence that FACT is a normal, run-of-the-mill group dedicated to celebrating the culture and achievements of Tamil-Canadians is alarming. More
Published: Wed May 17 20:30:16 EDT 2000

Tamil Tigers' leader poised for dramatic comeback Mysterious mastermind: Fought Sri Lankan army to a standstill over the past 15 years
May 17. It's said Mr. Prabhakaran used to immerse himself in sacks of hot chilies to teach himself to withstand pain and that he has methodically purged his organization of rivals, while ordering the arrest, torture and execution of Tamils who even mildly criticize him. By the time he was 19, Mr. Prabhakaran had gained fame, power and prestige, by assassinating the mayor of Jaffna and plastering the Jaffna peninsula with posters proudly proclaiming his personal responsibility for the killing. More..
Published: Wed May 17 20:27:10 EDT 2000

Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam's (LTTE) international organization and operations - a preliminary analysis
Peter Chalk, Canadian Security Intelligence Service, March 17, 2000. The ZDI incident graphically demonstrates the global reach of the LTTE, widely recognized to be one of the most proficient and dangerous guerrilla/terrorist groups in the world. In large part, this reputation is owed to the extremely sophisticated international network that has been built by the organization to sustain its 26 year-long struggle against the Colombo Government for the creation of an independent state of Tamil Eelam.(4)

The purpose of this Commentary is to analyze the scope and dimension of this transnational support infrastructure. The document will offer insights into the modus operandi of the LTTE international network, the main personalities and front organizations behind it, and the various ways in which it facilitates the LTTE guerilla and terrorist campaign in north-eastern Sri Lanka. More..
Published: Wed May 17 20:14:54 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka protests Martin, Minna speaking at Tamil dinner High commissioner asked to explain
National Post, May 11. The government of Sri Lanka summoned Ruth Archibald, Canada's high commissioner in Colombo, to a meeting yesterday to protest the conduct of the ministers, who spoke at the event in Toronto last Saturday. The $60-a-plate banquet was organized by the Federation of Associations of Canadian Tamils (FACT), which was identified in a report by the U.S. State Department last week as a "front" for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). More..
Published: Wed May 17 20:11:16 EDT 2000

Lanka to keep scribes off House session on war
Times of India, May 18. Journalists will be barred from covering special Parliament sessions which will be held every week to discuss the Tamil separatist war in the north. Unable to censor parliamentary proceedings, the government agreed to meet once a week to discuss the war on the condition that even clerks who take notes of the proceeding for records are banned. More..
Published: Wed May 17 20:05:57 EDT 2000

Indian Dilemma - An editorial
Hindustan Times, In Sri Lanka, this time around, India faces a. Psychologically, there is the memory of a prolonged and debilitating military stalemate even after a politically acceptable accord had been stitched up with the formal consent of all parties concerned. And yet, the India-Sri Lanka Agreement (ISLA) of 1987 blew up on our face. More..
Published: Wed May 17 19:38:29 EDT 2000

Sri Lankan Tamils unhappy at Karunanidhi's somersault
Hindustan Times, Colombo, May 17. n Colombo, TULF MP Joseph Pararajasimgham, said perhaps Mr. Karunanidhi had come under pressure from the Centre which had expressly opposed the creation of a separate Eelam and had extended the ban on the LTTE. But the Director of the Centre for Policy Alternatives, Dr Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu, felt that Mr. Karunanidhi's statement could mean that Tamil Nadu's political ground was being prepared for an Indian intervention in Sri Lanka if the situation was conducive to it." More..
Published: Wed May 17 19:34:24 EDT 2000

UNICEF chief deplores use of child soldiers in Sri Lanka
Orientation, 17 May 2000 23:25 GMT. he head of the UN Children's Fund hit out Wednesday at the use of children as "instruments of war" in conflict-plagued Sri-Lanka.Despite a commitment by the rebels of the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) not to recruit children under 17 years, the practice appeared to be continuing, the release said. More..
Published: Wed May 17 19:28:29 EDT 2000

Rebels gain ground in Sri Lanka
May 17. Sri Lankan troops, battling to keep control of the northern Jaffna peninsula, lost some ground in fierce attacks by Tamil Tiger rebels, military officials said on Wednesday.THEY SAID by telephone that Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebels pressed on with attacks on army positions, pushing troops back in several places after launching what the LTTE said was its "decisive battle" for Jaffna on Monday. More..
Published: Wed May 17 19:22:05 EDT 2000

Health Crisis Exists in Sri Lanka
Yahoo, May 17. The health situation of the civilian population in war-torn northern Sri Lanka is under severe threat and has reached alarming proportions, according to a report from the World Health Organization (WHO). More..
Published: Wed May 17 19:18:10 EDT 2000

23 killed in Batticaloa temple blast
Times of India, May 17. At least 23 people were killed and over 70 injured in a suspected LTTE bomb attack near a Buddhist temple in eastern Batticaloa Wednesday even as fighting raged on in Jaffna. The powerful blast ripped through a crowded pandal where people were celebrating Vesak, a Buddhist festival, officials said. The dead included six children and three policemen. More..<
Published: Wed May 17 17:38:56 EDT 2000

India has a key role in Sri Lanka, says Inderfurth
Hindu, May 17. Laying out the administration's view of the current crisis in Sri Lanka, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia, Mr. Karl F. Inderfurth, made categorically clear in a conversation at his office today that the United States would not at all entertain any notions such as that of the LTTE of a separate state of Tamil Eelam. ``We would not, nor do we believe that the international community would, recognise a unilateral assertion of independence.'' More..<
Published: Wed May 17 17:35:25 EDT 2000

Tigers zeroing in on Palaly airbase
Hindu, May 17. In a combined show of firepower and urban terror-bombing, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) today stepped up pressure on security forces in northern and eastern Sri Lanka. While in the north the rebels trained their field guns at the Palaly air-base around noon today, in the east, at least 17 persons were killed and 63 injured when a powerful explosion ripped the coastal Batticaloa town this evening. Information reaching Colombo indicates that the Tigers are zeroing in on Palaly, with three shells reportedly landing within close reach of the Army's high-security zone. The airfield, however, remained out of the range of rebel fire with the Government denying reports that the Palaly runway was hit. ``Air movement is normal from Palaly,'' a senior Government officer said. ``No damage has been caused to the airfield.'' More..
Published: Wed May 17 17:32:55 EDT 2000

LAcNet launches 'The Lanka Academic'
Ceylon Daily News, May 17, Colombo. Lanka Academic Network, a non-profit organization based in the United States, and composed of a virtual community of Sri Lankans has launched the first ever Internet-Sri Lankan newspaper with 24 hour news updates. The Lanka Academic is freely accessible to anyone with Internet facilities, and will carry news reports updated instantaneously round the clock by international and Sri Lankan reporters. More...

Published: Wed May 17 13:44:35 EDT 2000

Islamabad reaffirms support to Colombo
Dawn, May 17. "The charter of the United Nations as well as the SAARC make it incumbent upon all members (States) to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of other States" and added "interference in internal affairs is impermissible under international law". More..

Published: Wed May 17 13:25:06 EDT 2000

Daily Press Briefing
US State Dept., Tuesday, May 16, 2000. QUESTION: How much interest is the US taking in solving the bloody war in Sri Lanka and also if anybody from this Department is in touch with the Sri Lanka Government? More..

Published: Wed May 17 13:19:39 EDT 2000

Curfew imposed in Batticaloa
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 10.10 p.m. SLT Wednesday May 17. The State today imposed an indefinite curfew at Batticaloa, in Sri Lanka's East. The curfew came into effect soon after a bomb exploded in the heart of Batticaloa's town area. The explosion took place around 5.45 p.m. this evening. Sources are unable to say who is responsible for the bomb.

Published: Wed May 17 12:11:13 EDT 2000

17 killed, 63 injured in bomb explosion in Sri Lanka's East
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 9.25 p.m. SLT Wednesday May 17. Seventeen people including children were killed when a bomb exploded close to the Batticaloa police station this evening. A crowd had gathered at the spot to view a vesak pandal at the temple nearby when the explosion occured. Sixty three other persons are reported injured including nearly two dozen security personnel. The Chief of the Batticaloa police station is also reported killed. The bomb is believed to have been fixed to a bicycle.

Published: Wed May 17 11:35:11 EDT 2000

Buddhist holiday blast kills 23, Sri Lanka resists Jaffna drive
Yahoo, Wednesday, May 17 10:39 PM SGT. Tamil Tiger rebels bombed a Buddhist feast in eastern Sri Lanka Wednesday, killing 23 and wounding 75 people as security forces resisted a rebel advance in the island's north, the government said.

The blast occurred near a Buddhist temple in the town of Batticaloa where people were witnessing an illuminated coloured structure to mark the Buddhist feast of Wesak which is the most important Buddhist holiday, officials said.

International aid officiasl who rushed to the main hospital in Batticaloa, 300 kilometres (187 miles) east of here, said 15 people had died on the spot and among them were five children below the age of eight years. More..

Published: Wed May 17 11:26:28 EDT 2000

Bombing at Buddhist celebration kills 14 in Sri Lanka
Yahoo, Wednesday, May 17 9:26 PM SGT. The blast occurred near a Buddhist temple in the town of Batticaloa where people were witnessing a coloured structure to mark the Buddhist feast of Wesak which is the most important Buddhist holiday, officials said.Police said they suspected that the powerful bomb may have been planted inside the portable freezer of an ice cream vendor in the town of Batticaloa, 300 kilometrs (187 miles) east of the capital Colombo. More.. l

Published: Wed May 17 11:22:30 EDT 2000

Bomb explodes at Batticaloa
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 9 p.m. SLT Wednesday May 17. A bomb exploded in the heart of Sri Lanka's Eastern city Batticaloa, at 5.45 p.m. this evening. The explosion took place close to the Batticaloa police station. It is believed that children were among 6 soldiers killed in the blast. Exact casualty figures are not yet known. Sources said that shooting too was heard after the explosion.

Published: Wed May 17 11:18:42 EDT 2000

Chandrika discusses autonomy proposals
Hindu, May 17. Amid heavy fighting in northern Jaffna, Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga and leader of the Opposition Ranil Wickramasinghe held talks to reach a consensus on providing constitutional guarantees to autonomy proposals to be submitted to the LTTE at a later stage. More..

Published: Wed May 17 11:17:08 EDT 2000

Bomb blast in Sri Lanka
BBC. At least 17 people have been killed in a bomb explosion in eastern Sri Lanka. Details are still coming in, but officials say the bomb went off during a Buddhist religious celebration in the eastern town of Batticaloa. A senior police officer was reported to be among those killed. It is not known who carried out the attack, although previous such attacks have been blamed on Tamil Tiger rebels. More.. Published: Wed May 17 10:52:42 EDT 2000

Jaffna civilians run the gauntlet of Tigers and troops
Yahoo, May 17. The nearly half a million Tamil civilians in northern Sri Lanka run the gauntlet of government troops and Tamil Tiger rebels battling for control of the key town of Jaffna, according to aid officials.

People queued outside shops to stock up on food supplies Tuesday during a brief break in the curfew in Jaffna, where thousands of government soldiers are resisting a fresh offensive by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

The government insists that no food or medicine shortages exist in the peninsula but aid workers say prolonged fighting could disrupt the distribution system and cause serious shortages for the civilians.

"Residents can hear firing and at the same time there is no exodus of people from the area," said an aid official who is in radio contact with staff in Jaffna, 400 kilometres (250 miles) north of the capital Colombo. More..

Published: Wed May 17 10:46:51 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka says Tiger drive on Jaffna stalled with air, sea attacks
May 17. Sri Lankan aircraft and tanks beat back waves of Tamil rebel assaults by killing at least 39 Tiger guerrillas who tried to breach army defences near the town of Jaffna, the government said Wednesday.

Troops backed by aircraft and artillery guns pounded formations of the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) at Columbuthurai and Kaithady overnight, the government said in a statement.

"Troops manning defences observed over 30 terrorist dead bodies ahead of the defences," the statement said adding that another nine rebels were killed when troops smashed a rebel bunker near Navatkuli. More..

Published: Wed May 17 10:44:12 EDT 2000

Terror on Sri Lankan faultline
BBC. The victims lay buried in the soil. They were farming folk. And the same tools they lived by were used to slaughter them.

The survivors are traumatised. They are from the majority ethnic group in Sri Lanka, the Sinhalese, but found themselves on land claimed by the Tamil guerrillas and have now paid the price.

Tee Manike lost three of her four children.

"They were cut up," she said, "and the men who did this must be destroyed." More.. Published: Wed May 17 10:38:24 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka seeks K P S Gill's services
Hindu, May 17. Haunted by the LTTE onslaught on Jaffna, the Sri Lankan Government has invited former Punjab police chief K P S Gill to advise it on anti-terrorist measures, particularly in Colombo.

While the super-cop, credited with crushing terrorism in Punjab, declined to divulge the exact nature of the new assignment, Colombo is believed to have sought his assistance in strengthening security measures for VVIPs in Colombo, where the LTTE had successfully carried out several assassinations and suicide attacks in the past. More.. Published: Wed May 17 10:22:43 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka repulses several LTTE attacks
May 17. A day after Tamil Tiger rebels launched a fresh offensive near Jaffna, the Sri Lankan army is claiming that it has effectively repulsed several LTTE attacks. The army says it managed to push back the rebels with the help of artillery fire, helicopter gunships and Israel-made fighter jets. More..

Published: Wed May 17 10:15:37 EDT 2000

Sri Lankan troops face fresh pressure in Jaffna
MSNBC, May 17. Sri Lankan troops, battling to keep control of the northern Jaffna peninsula, were staving off fierce attacks by Tamil Tiger rebels on Wednesday. The rebels said on Tuesday they had overrun military positions at Navatkuli and Thatchantoppu, just east of Jaffna city, and were advancing north to Kaithadi after launching a huge artillery and mortar bomb attack on the army base there. The government, meanwhile, accused the LTTE of shelling heavily populated areas in a bid to push out the city's 100,000 civilians. More..

Published: Wed May 17 10:08:38 EDT 2000

Artillery shells fall on main Sri Lankan military airport in Jaffna
May 17. Tamil Tiger rebels fired artillery at the Sri Lankan military's only airport in embattled Jaffna today, threatening the supply line for government troops in the peninsula, officials said. Meanwhile, authorities blamed the rebels for an explosion today that killed 17 in an eastern Sri Lanka town. The shells were from a 122 mm artillery gun, which can hit targets within a range of 10 miles, military officials reached by telephone said. More..

Published: Wed May 17 10:06:46 EDT 2000

Tamil rebel attack 'repulsed'
BBC, Wednesday, 17 May, 2000, 10:23 GMT 11:23 UK. successfully repulsed an attack by Tamil Tiger rebels just east of Jaffna Town.

At least 39 rebels were said to have been killed in their latest attempt to capture their former stronghold in the north.

There are no independent confirmations of the report as journalists are banned from the warzone.

The BBC's Susannah Price says that although Tigers said last week they would launch their final assault on Jaffna, they have so far failed to make any significant impact inside the town. More.. Published: Wed May 17 10:00:25 EDT 2000

Tamil conflict at India's doorstep
CSM. t's been called India's Vietnam. And as Sri Lanka's civil war continues to escalate off India's southern coast, the 17-year conflict threatens to draw in its larger neighbor once again.

For the Liberation Tigers of the Tamil Elam (LTTE), the tiny Jaffna Peninsula at the tip of the teardrop-shaped island symbolizes the collective desire for an ethnic homeland. The mainly Hindu Tamils say they are fighting discrimination by the majority Buddhist Sinhalese. United since British colonial rule, tensions between them increased after independence in 1948. More..

Published: Wed May 17 09:53:17 EDT 2000

Rebels Attack Sri Lanka Airport
May 17. Tamil Tiger rebels fired three artillery shells at the Sri Lankan military's only airport in Jaffna today, threatening the supply line for government troops in the peninsula, military officials said.

The shells exploded at the Palali airport, the main ammunition and petroleum storage facility in the peninsula.

The shells were from a 122 mm artillery gun, which can hit targets within a range of 10 miles, military officials reached by telephone said.

There was no immediate report on casualties or damage. More..

Published: Wed May 17 09:51:27 EDT 2000

President vows peace in her Vesak Day message
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 12.30 p.m. SLT Wednesday May 17. President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge in her message to the nation to commemorate Vesak said she would abide by Buddhist principals to bring about a peaceful resolution to the ethnic conflict. She further lauded a United Nations gesture to recognise Vesak internationally as a day of religious significance. The President's message was made in the wake of fresh fighting between Lankan troops and the LTTE that began yesterday and continued to rage at Jaffna's coastal belt in Sri Lanka's North.

Published: Wed May 17 03:20:19 EDT 2000

Heavy fighting in outskirts of Jaffna's municipal city
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 12.50 p.m. SLT Wednesday May 17. The Tigers in a press release issued yesterday claimed that the battle for Jaffna resumed with great intensity as heavily armed combat formations of the rebels opened up two frontal offensive assault last night in the coastal belt of Jaffna city and in the Chavakachcheri sector.

The LTTE statement said, "The advancing LTTE forces engaged the Sri Lankan troops in a bloody battle at Pasaiyur and Kurunagar in the municipal outskirts of the city. The Tiger combat units have smashed through the defence lines of the government troops causing heavy casualties to the enemy. Heavy fighting is still raging in that sector."

The Tigers further claim to have overrun military positions at Navatkuli and Thatchanthoppu in the Chavakachcheri sector last night.

The LTTE says that it has also since 5 p.m. last evening launched an attack on the main military base situated at Kaithady junction.

The operation code-named 'Unceasing Waves 3' resumed around 5p.m yesterday after a respite of three days.

Brigadier Palitha Fernando, military spokesman denied tha the LTTE have gained ground in the north. He said there have been "general attacks launched on defense positions at Kaithday last evening," but asserted that there is no main military base at Kaithady junction as claimed by the rebels.

Brigadier Fernando added the Tigers have not advanced beyond Colombothuria East, a position the rebels secured last week.

Published: Wed May 17 03:20:19 EDT 2000

Foreign Minister warns UN
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 1 p.m. SLT Wednesday May 17. Lakshman Kadirgamar, Minister for Foreign Affairs yesterday warned that any action by the United Nations to set up refugee camps to protect Tamils in case of a backlash in Colombo would be unforgivable.

The Minister added, "We will not tolerate it. Not only would it be interference, it would be needlessly alarmist and unforgivable."

The Minister however reiterated that the UN had not consulted the foreign ministry about such a proposal.

Speculation has been rife that in the event Jaffna were to fall to the rebels it is possible a fall out of the situation will be witnessed in Sri Lanka's South.

The Minister further countered a statement issued by the European Union yesterday which called on the government to lift restrictions on the media, initiate a cessation of hostilities and to ensure the protection of the civilian population in conflict zones, in particular the Jaffna area. Kadirgamar responding said "the EU comes out with these declarations from time to time. The language is usually a little quaint, but strongly objectionable. For instance, there is suddenly a reference to 'commonwealth'. I don't know if the EU is firmly grounded on the soil."

Published: Wed May 17 03:20:19 EDT 2000

Hundreds of Lankan Tamils waiting to cross to India
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 1.15 p.m. SLT Wednesday May 17. Hundreds of Sri Lankan Tamils are reported to be stranded at Talaimannar in the country's war torn north, waiting to cross the Palk Strait to India. The refugees are however prevented from doing so by Indian naval ships maintaining a strict surveillance between Sri Lankan and Indian territorial waters. It is reported that desperate civilians trying to escape the fire of Lankan troops and the LTTE have paid upto Rs. 15,000/- per boat and are begging to be allowed passage to India's southern coast.

Published: Wed May 17 03:20:19 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka's Tamils trapped between law and war
May 16. Trapped between a brutal guerrilla group, tough anti-terrorism laws and a threat of communal violence, minority Tamils in Sri Lanka are battling apprehension. ''Tension, anxiety, fear...would best characterise the mood in the Tamil community at the moment,'' Pakiasothy Saravanmuttu, himself a Tamil and head of the Colombo based think-tank Centre for Policy Alternatives, told Reuters. Lingam summed up his people's dilemma perfectly. ''We are trapped by this war'' he said. ''When we live in LTTE controlled areas we do what the LTTE wants. And when we come to government-controlled areas we do what the government wants.'' More..

Citing National Crisis, Sri Lanka Blanks Out Freedom of the Press
May 17 Paris. Mrs. Kumaratunga ordered the censorship measures - unequaled in Sri Lanka's half-century of parliamentary democracy except for a brief exception in 1998 - on May 3 after separatist Tamil rebels captured a major northern army base in a stunning setback for the military.Some papers have found creative ways to challenge the ban and attack the rules as politically motivated. The Sunday Leader last week submitted two nearly identical, fictitious articles to Mr. Rubasinghe criticizing the war effort. The first one, blaming the opposition party, was allowed. The second, blaming Mrs. Kumaratunga, was banned. More..

India should intervene in Sri Lanka - An editorial
Deccan Chronicle. After continuously campaigning against terrorism, India cannot afford to be seen to be weak against the LTTE. The LTTE is rightly a banned organisation in India, in keeping with our own campaign, we have to ensure it is eliminated if it persists in its violent activities. Here, we can take a leaf from the Israel book for that country, terrorism anywhere as a threat to be crushed; if India wishes to be seen as a major voice in the global fight against this menace, it must stand up and be counted More..

Chandrika firm on new devolution package
Hindustan Times, May 16. Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga told the all-party conference here on Monday that she was determined to table in Parliament by August the new Constitution embodying devolution of power to the provinces. A Tamil leader told The Hindustan Times after the meeting that a former Presidential candidate, Mr Harishchandra, and the leader of the Mahajana Eksath Peramuna, Mr Dinesh Gunawardene, drew flak from the Tamil representatives when they described the LTTE as "Tamil terrorists" who should be crushed. A TULF leader said that even the LTTE could not be dubbed as terrorists because, rightly or wrongly, the Tamils believed that it was because of the LTTE that the government was talking about a settlement of the Tamil question. More..

Why DMK had to distance itself from LTTE
Chennai, May 16. THE MDMK and the PMK now stand completely isolated within the NDA following Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Karunanidhi's categorical remarks that he would not prefer the LTTE to preside over a Tamil Eelam since it was not the ideal representative of Sri Lankan Tamils.

By coming out openly in the state Assembly that the DMK had always kept its distance from the LTTE and viewed it with trepidation due to its penchant to bump of fellow Tamil leaders, Mr. Krunanidhi has made his strongest statement against the Tigers. More..

India, Lanka try to talk through crisis
Hindustan Times, New Delhi, May 16. t seems as if the two countries have embarked upon a novel diplomatic course: talking through media interviews and parliament statements. On May 9, the Sri Lankan High Commissioner in New Delhi, Mr Mangala Moonasinghe, reacted in an interview to Star TV on Mr Singh's public offer on mediation. But he did not say anything about a direct offer through normal diplomatic channels. More..

'India and Lanka discussing joint naval patrolling'
Hindustan Times, Colombo, May 16. Sri Lanka and India are discussing the possibility of jointly patrolling the seas around north and east Sri Lanka to prevent the LTTE from bringing arms by sea, Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar said here today. The Lankan Foreign minister said that he would "outrightly reject" the theory that India and the LTTE were in cahoots and that New Delhi had told the Tigers that they could take the Jaffna peninsula, except the Palaly air base, whose capture would threaten India's shores. More..

Sri Lanka admits to receiving direct foreign military assistance
NDTV, May 16. The Sri Lankan government has for the first time admitted that it is receiving direct foreign military assistance on the battlefront. Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Laxman Kadirgamar today indicated that Israeli military trainers and technicians were supporting troops on the front line to fight the LTTE. More..

Fears grow for Jaffna civilians
BBC, Tuesday, 16 May, 2000, 18:21 GMT 19:21 UK. Aid agencies in Sri Lanka say more civilians are leaving the northern town of Jaffna because of heavy fighting between Sri Lankan government troops and Tamil Tiger rebels.The medical group Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said in a statement that attacks in the Jaffna area had caused civilian deaths. More..

Start dialogue, E.U. tells Colombo, LTTE
Hindu, May 16. In the first substantive international reaction to the current crisis in Sri Lanka, the European Union has called on Colombo and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam to stop fighting and start talking. The Government is carefully scrutinising the European position on Sri Lanka, but is unlikely to associate itself with the statement issued by the E.U. presidency last night in Brussels. More..

Some Tigers may have sneaked into Jaffna
Hindu, May 16. Despite stiff resistance by Government troops, some cadres of the LTTE may have slipped into Jaffna town, further restricting Colombo's military options.

According to highly-placed Government sources, some Tigers have breached the Sri Lankan defence line in a few places around Jaffna in the last couple of days, and could be present in small numbers inside the town. Consequently, the presence of the LTTE in populated areas is negatively affecting Sri Lanka's military options. More..

Fighting spreads to east of Jaffna
Hindu, May 16. Breaking a ``somewhat steady'' situation which prevailed on the northern military front for the past few days, the LTTE today stepped up its offensive on the east of Jaffna in which at least 40 LTTE militants and six Sri Lankan soldiers were reportedly killed. Strongly disagreeing with a questioner on whether India had prevailed upon the Tigers to contain their Jaffna offensive, Mr. Kadirgamar said, ``I reject absolutely and totally that the Indian Government has anything to do with the LTTE behind our back.'' The Minister also said, ``We are totally convinced'' that India does not want a separate state in the North and East of Sri Lanka. More..

May 16. Sri Lanka observers in New Delhi said the attack signalled a shift in the Tigers' strategy. Instead of pushing forward further from near Colombuthurai east on the outskirts of Jaffna, as was on the cards for some time, the rebels had unleashed an offensive on the Tanankillappu sector by firing from Pooneryn north, southeast of the city across the lagoon. More..

Pakistan voices sympathy for Sri Lanka government
MSNBC, May 16. Pakistan on Tuesday voiced sympathy for Sri Lanka in Colombo's fight against separatist Tamil Tiger rebels and said there should be no interference in the strife-torn country's internal affairs. ''The government of Pakistan is concerned at the intensification of rebel attacks on the forces of the government of Sri Lanka in Jaffna peninsula and extends its sympathy to the government and people of Sri Lanka in their struggle to maintain the unity of their country,'' a Foreign Ministry statement said. More..

UNICEF says children being caught in Sri Lanka war
MSNBC, May 16. Children are being caught up in the battle in Sri Lanka both as victims and as combatants, the head of the U.N. Children's Fund said Tuesday. Bellamy said that despite commitments by the main rebel group, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, not to recruit children under the age of 17, the practice appeared to be continuing. She also expressed alarm at reports that government forces were restricting the supply of vaccines and drugs to children and families in rebel-held areas of Sri Lanka. More..

Sri Lanka increases defence budget to fight Tamil Tigers
Ananova, Tuesday 16th May 2000. The Sri Lankan government has increasing its defence spending by $180 million to $880 million in its fight against Tamil Tiger separatists. More...

Prabhakaran's mom fights paralysis in TN, May 16, 2000. Her son is holding an island nation to ransom, threatening to overrun one of its most populous towns. But Parvathi Ammal, mother of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam chief, Velupillai Prabhakaran, lies unaware of this in a siddha hospital in Musiri near here. More...

Chandrika rejects ceasefire offer
Hindu, May 16. Recovering from the initial shock after the Army lost control of Elephant Pass last month, Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga has now outright rejected any ceasefire agreement with the LTTE.

But, she said, her Government was ready for talks with the militant group provided LTTE supremo V Prabhakaran was brought to the negotiating table. More..

Indian ban on LTTE no hurdle to mediation: Kadirgamar
Hindu, May 16. India's decision to renew the ban on LTTE is not a "fatal impediment" to chances of New Delhi's mediation in the ethnic conflict in northern Sri Lanka and it is a "good time" for rebel tigers to come to the negotiating table, Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar has said.

Briefing reporters here today about his India visit, Kadirgamar said the Sri Lankan Government welcomed the Indian decision to extend the ban on LTTE. "At the same time, the ban would in no way prevent India from playing a role to end the Sri Lankan conflict." More..

LTTE claims decisive battle on for Jaffna
Indian Express, May 16. The LTTE today claimed that the "decisive battle" for Jaffna resumed with great intensity as its heavily-armed combat formations opened up offensive onslaught on two fronts last night in the coastal belt of the city and in the Chavakachcheri sector, reports PTI.The Tiger combat units have smashed through the defence lines of the government troops resulting in heavy causalties to the army, it said. More..

Fresh LTTE attacks on Jaffna Govt appeals for peace talks
Times of India, May 16. Tamil rebels today launched a fresh attack on the besieged Sri Lankan town of Jaffna after a three-day lull even as the government appealed to the LTTE to talk peace. More..

S.Lanka tells rebel leader to step back from brink
MSNBC, May 16. Sri Lanka appealed on Tuesday to the reclusive leader of the Tamil Tiger rebels to spare his war-weary people further suffering after 17 years of fruitless battle for a separate homeland. ''Is it not time now to put aside the rationale that drove you to war?'' Kadirgamar said, when asked at a news conference what message he would like to send to Velupillai Prabhakaran, leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). ''Is it not time to say I have fought a good battle...bring it to an end and seek a political solution?'' he added. More..

MSF worries over civilian casualties in S.Lanka war
MSNBC, May 16. A humanitarian organisation said on Tuesday that the escalation in fighting in northern Sri Lanka was putting civilian lives in danger and making their medical care difficult. Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said in a statement that recent attacks in Jaffna peninsula and its vicinity had caused civilian deaths, and the location of potential military targets next to hospitals further endangered patients. More..

LTTE lose 400 frontline cadres following air raids
Deccan Herald, May 16. With the LTTE losing nearly 400 frontline cadres following air force raids in the embattled Jaffna peninsula, the intensity of fighting has dropped drastically during the past four days. Since fresh fighting broke out on May, military sources said.Troops have inflicted heavy casualities on LTTE cadres in Nagarkivil, Ampan, Kovilakandy and Cololbuthurai, sources said. More..

LTTE launches fresh attack on army positions in Jaffna
NDTV, May 16. Speaking in Colombo, the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister, Mr. Lakshman Kadirgamar said that there's been a gradual shift in the fighting in favour of the army. "I would say that in the last 4 or 5 days, there is a discernible evidence of the stiffening of resistance being offered by the army to the LTTE in the peninsula. Correspondingly there is an indication of the LTTE standing off. Now if its doing that to regroup or plan its moves I don't know, but it is my impression that we are now at the turning corner in the current situation," informed Mr. Kadirgamar. More..

Heavy fighting continues in northern Sri Lanka.(Exclusive)
Roy Denish in Colombo, 18.55, SLT Tuesday.. Sri Lankan government claimed that at least 45 persons including six soldiers were killed in confrontations in northern Jaffna peninsula during the past 24 hours. A government news release said that six soldiers including an officer were killed at Thanankillapu sector.

The news release added that fresh fighting broke out when terrorists simultaneously fired a barrage of artillery and mortars on troops and the heavy fire was directed from north of Ponneryn, an area now under control of Tigers.

"Due to the concentrated artillery and mortar fire, the senior ground commanders shifted the defences to prepared positions towards the northeast".

Elsewhere at Wanni separatist Tiger rebels in their clandestine radio, the Voice Of Tigers requested the civilians not to enter the army-controlled areas until May 19.

"There had been reports of heavy concentration of rebels in Wanni during the past few days and it may be the reasons as to why the civilians have been barred from entering the control areas", a military officer told this correspondent.

Meanwhile reports reaching Colombo said that the Sri Lankan air force planes were dropping leaflets ordering civilians in Mullitivu district to vacate the areas immediately.Mullitivu is the stronghold of Tiger rebels.

Norway envoy says high hopes for Sri Lanka peace
MSNBC, May 16. A Norwegian peace broker for Sri Lanka said on Tuesday he was not discouraged by a new offensive by Tamil rebels but warned that peace was still far off. Erik Solheim, who leads Oslo's peace initiative to the war-torn country, acknowledged that the Tamils' offensive in the northern city of Jaffna had worsened the situation. ''This is a long-term and difficult process with steps forward and steps back. But we are hoping that there will be always be two steps forward and one step back and not the opposite,'' he said. More..

Tamil tiger chief masterminds terror
CBS, May 15. Vellupillai Prabharakan, the brilliant, reclusive mastermind of Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers, is virtually unknown outside South Asia and is a personal mystery even in his own country. But he leads one of the world's most formidable and successful guerrilla-terrorist movements, which he has shaped in his own implacable image.

As his Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eetam hammer away at the beleagured Sri Lankan army troops cut off in the city of Jaffna, Prabharkan looks closer than ever to achieve his lifelong dream of an independent Tamil ethnic state carved out of Sri Lanka, the former British colony of Ceylon.

But many fear that his dream could become his own people's nightmare. More..

Sri Lanka to get 'technical experts' from Israel and ups defence budget
May 16. Israeli "technical experts" may help Sri Lanka's military operate new weapons, Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar said Tuesday as the two countries formalised their diplomatic ties after 30 years.

Kadirgamar told reporters here that he did not expect Israelis to get involved in any combat role in the government's battle against Tamil Tiger rebels, but technical help could be obtained.

"But I must say that there will be no combat role for them." More..

UPDATE 1-Arms for war derail S.Lanka's defence budget
ABC News, May 16. Sri Lanka said on Tuesday that emergency purchases of arms to fight Tamil Tiger rebels in the north of the country would lift this year's defence budget to $880 million from around $700 million.

The defence budget for 2000 was set at 52.4 billion rupees ($701.6 million), or just less than five percent of gross domestic product. More..

Gunmen kill lawmaker in northern Sri Lanka
Indian Express, May 16. Unidentified gunmen shot and killed a Tamil lawmaker in Jaffna, the northern city besieged by thousands of Tamil guerrillas preparing for a final assault, military officers said today.

Santhanam Kandeepan, a member of the Jaffna city council, was killed yesterday in Jaffna's Arasadi neighborhood in the first political assassination since Tamil rebels intensified their offensive last month to recapture their former capital. More..

The Colombo Crisis
Outlook, May 22. Coming from the head of state, it was a remark that spoke volumes about the acute threat Colombo is facing. When Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga met opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe to brief him on the military situation in the Jaffna peninsula, she had to confess that "the situation is critical". Indeed, since April 21, when Tamil separatist rebels captured the strategically crucial Elephant Pass military complex-the gateway to the peninsula-the island nation is facing an unprecedented military and political crisis. More..

Sri Lanka Talks Peace, Norway Says No Easy Road
Yahoo, May 16. Sri Lanka has again called for negotiations with Tamil Tiger rebels as Norway, which is attempting to broker peace between the warring sides, cast doubt over an early end to the ethnic war.

State media reported in Colombo on Tuesday that President Chandrika Kumaratunga told a meeting of all political parties that her government was prepared to negotiate peace with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

But she reiterated that the government would not withdraw its troops from the country's north and east, where the LTTE has been fighting for a separate homeland for minority Tamils since 1983. More..

Fresh fighting erupted in Sri Lanka's
May 16. northern Jaffna peninsula after a lull of three days when Tamil Tiger rebels launched an attack on army positions at Tanankillappu, just east of Jaffna town, the government said on Tuesday.

It said in a statement that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) launched the attack on Monday and fired a barrage of artillery and mortar fire at the troops. More..

Sri Lanka, India wait for mediation offer to be made official
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 3 p.m. SLT Tuesday May 16. Sri Lanka's Foreign Minister, Lakshman Kadirgamar, told journalists today that India has made no official intimation of seeking to mediate Sri Lanka's present conflict. The Minister maintained that speculation so far was on the basis of media reports which claimed Indian Premier Atal Behari Vajpayee and India's External Affairs Minister, Jaswant Singh, had offered to mediate Sri Lanka's conflict if invited to do so by both, the Sri Lankan government and the Tamil Tiger rebels.

Fresh fighting in Sri Lanka's north
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 2 p.m. SLT Tuesday May 16. Fresh fighting broke out today at Tanakillapu in the northern peninsula. The government media information centre confirmed that hundreds of rebels launched fierce attacks on the military forcing troops to relocate forward defence lines closer to Jaffna's north east.

Lankan foreign minister says no link between India and LTTE
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 1.30 p.m. SLT Tuesday May 16. Lakshman Kadirgamar, Foreign Minister for Sri Lanka at a press conference today with local and foreign media said there is no link between India and the Tamil Tigers fighting for a separate state in northern Sri Lanka. The Minister asserted that India did not want to see a divided Sri Lanka and have urged both parties to the conflict to seek a negotiated settlement.

Kadirgamar meanwhile re-affirmed government claims in the last 36 hours, which states that heavy fighting in the north has abated, with the LTTE suffering heavy loss of cadre. The Minister confirmed that international assistance has been gained in order to purchase arms for Lankan troops but declined to define the type of arms being received by the government.

Minister Kadirgamar reiterated that the government is committed to finding a political solution to Sri Lanka's present crisis, but maintained the LTTE is not interested in a negotiated settlement.

Diplomatic deal sealed with Israel
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 1.35 p.m. SLT Tuesday May 16. Sri Lanka officially signed a diplomatic pact with Israel yesterday. The deal was sealed by Sri Lanka's Ambassador to the United Nations, John De Saram.

President speaks with 27 political parties
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 11.10 a.m. SLT Tuesday May 16. President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge yesterday met with representatives of 27 political parties. At the discussion she briefed the members on her government's strategy to meet the increased military threat by the LTTE and vowed that her administration would not commence peace talks with the rebels unless they call a halt to all violence. She asserted that the government would not withdraw troops from the northern peninsula and that armed reinforcements as well as personnel have been sent to soldiers deployed in the conflict areas. The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) annoyed at being kept waiting by the President for a near two hours left the meeting fifteen minutes before she arrived. The meeting was scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. but only got off the ground two hours later due to the President arriving late.

The Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) objected to a suggestion that all political parties should unite to defeat the LTTE. The President however welcomed this proposal put forward by the Mahajana Eksath Peramuna and the Sinhala Mahasammata Bhoomiputra party.

Justice minister sets out peace strategy
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 11.15 a.m. SLT Tuesday May 16. Prof. G. L. Peiris, Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs at a briefing with members of the diplomatic community which included representatives of multilateral financial institutions, the United Nations and Heads of Missions of donor countries last Thursday set out in detail the Government's thinking with regard to the evolving political and economic situation.

In order to meet additional expenditure of Rs. 12 billion for the armed conflict, a restructuring of priorities with regard to the economy and foreign relations is necessary, he said. Non-essential capital expenditure would not be incurred. A sense of balance had to be achieved with regard to safeguarding human rights in the context of extraordinary measures under emergency regulations essential for national security. Prof. Peiris also said that while the government would prosecute the war that was thrust upon them, it was also committed to the fundamental values underpinning the devolution process, strengthening civil society and empowerment of the minorities.

The government, he said, was also conscious of the need to extenuate the adverse effects of political polarization and to this end the talks with the United National Party (UNP) would continue with an expanded ambit.

The Minister stressed that an integrated strategy was needed with regard to the peace process - the military strategy, the process of discussions with political parties and the role of other nations in the capacity of facilitator to help negotiate talks with the LTTE.

EPDP member shot in Jaffna
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 11.20 a.m. SLT Tuesday May 16. A member of the Eelam People's Democratic Party (EPDP) was shot dead outside the Jaffna Hindu Ladies College yesterday allegedly by the LTTE's pistol gang. The body has been handed over to the Jaffna Teachers College, while police conduct investigations. The deceased was a member of the Valikamam South Pradeshiya Sabha.

MSF cautions State on aerial bombing
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 11.35 a.m. SLT Tuesday May 16. Foreign wire services yesterday said Medicines Sans Frontieres (MSF), Holland, a humanitarian agency working in the country's north, has cautioned the government on aerial bombardment which the organizations claims could pose a serious hazard to the civilian population in the area. MSF says it will issue a statement calling on all warring sides in the north to respect the safety of the civilian population. This call is issued in the wake of claims by pro LTTE news services that five civilians including two children were killed and 10 injured at Pooneryn last Friday, May 12, when Israeli built Kifir jets bombed a fishing village in the area.

Media censorship imposed in Sri Lanka for security reasons
NDTV, Tuesday, May 16 (Colombo):. Media Minister, Ms. Mangala Samaravira says the government fears that exaggerated media reports could lead to a repeat of the communal clashes that shook Sri Lanka in late July 1983. According to Ms. Samaravira, "It is in that context that we decided to impose the censorship regulations very strictly, because we found that certain newspapers were exaggerating the casualty figures and they were carrying word for word Tiger propaganda." More..

Official intimation required before India can mediate: Kumaratunga
NDTV, May 16. At the all-party meeting called to discuss the ongoing conflict between the LTTE and the Sri Lankan army in Jaffna, the Sri Lankan President, Ms. Chandrika Kumaratunga said that she would take a decision on the offer made by India to mediate between her government and the LTTE only after receiving an official intimation. More..

EU asks Sri Lanka to lift curbs on civil liberties
MSNBC, May 15. The European Union on Monday urged the government of Sri Lanka, locked in a bitter war with Tamil guerrillas, to lift restrictions imposed earlier this month on civil liberties and freedom of the press.

The Sri Lankan government imposed tough public security regulations on May 4, putting both local and foreign media under a blanket censorship. It has also banned live broadcasts of all television and radio programmes. The laws, which also ban public meetings, trade union action and criticism of the president and allow the government to seize property and vehicles, were introduced as the country was put on a war footing to battle a guerrilla offensive. More..

Sri Lanka, Israel restore diplomatic relations
MSNBC, May 15. Sri Lanka and Israel on Monday restored diplomatic relations, broken off by Sri Lanka in 1970 and again in 1990. The restoration, announced earlier this month, was formalised in a joint communique signed by Israeli Foreign Minister David Levy, now visiting New York, and Sri Lanka's United Nations ambassador, John de Saram.

Diplomatic sources said the two countries were not expected to open embassies but that Sri Lanka's ambassador in Jordan would also be accredited to Israel, while Israel's ambassador to India would be accredited to Sri Lanka. More..

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