The Lanka Academic

MAY 29, 2000 EST, USA
VOL. 1, NO. 54

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Anil's Ghost: Ondaatje's new novel worth the wait
ANNE-MARIE TOBIN, Associated Press. TORONTO (CP) -- Michael Ondaatje left Sri Lanka as a schoolboy and settled in Canada almost 40 years ago, but his new novel Anil's Ghost conveys an ache for the people of his troubled homeland. More...
LA Times review by Jonathan Levi
T  A  B  L  E      O  F      C  O  N  T  E  N  T  S
Who Speaks for Peace?
Time, June 5. Sporting an honorific normally accorded to parliamentarians and judges, "The Hon." Velupillai Prabhakaran, leader of the world's most successful terrorist group, has emerged from the seclusion of the Sri Lankan jungle and onto the Internet.But what about those Sri Lankan Tamils at home and in exile who aren't convinced that a Tiger victory would usher in a new era of racial harmony, democracy and freedom? Prabhakaran, 46, will stop at nothing to further his cause. He has ruthlessly ordered the death of anyone who has opposed him or his view of an independent Eelam: a homeland for Sri Lanka's estimated 2.4 million Tamils. By eliminating all opposition, Prabhakaran has become the sole remaining symbol of Tamil pride, and his Tigers the only protector of Tamil rights. More..
Published: Mon May 29 23:34:46 EDT 2000

Tiger, Tiger, burning bright
The-Week, June 4. The question, as Colombo has made it out, is the survival of one third of the Sri Lankan army. Fighting near Jaffna they have simply run out of guns and bullets. Can India give a few? What Colombo is asking for is firepower. What India has offered, "if the request comes", is free transport with packed lunch. To use the classical adage, Chandrika Kumaratunga asked for guns; Vajpayee is offering butter. Perhaps out of its own desperation, Colombo has once again cornered India into a no-win strategic situation.

From the public statements of Lankan leaders, including President Kumaratunga, it is apparent that she has asked for any one of three things.

*One, an armed Indian intervention which she knew India would refuse, given the IPKF experience.

*Two, material support (arms and ammunition) which she was not sure of.

*Three, India's persuasive power over LTTE to bring it to the negotiations table before Jaffna falls. More
Published: Mon May 29 22:44:41 EDT 2000

Their man in India
The Week. Jun4

Vaiko, leader of the MDMK, has a sat-cellular phone. He will not give you its number; he uses it only to speak to the LTTE offices in London, Paris and Geneva and to Anton Balasingham and other top leaders of the outfit in Europe. Needless to say, he has intimate contacts in that organisation.Unofficially he was designated to liaise with the Tigers. Even the intelligence agencies assist him in doing this job. Such is his reach that he arranged a dialogue between an Indian attache in a European country and an LTTE leader based there. More..
Published: Mon May 29 22:41:40 EDT 2000

Help! Sri Lanka cries out to India as its cornered army faces annihilation by the Tamil Tigers
June 4. Public opinion in Sri Lanka is laden with shock, resignation and anxiety. Shock, that the Tamil rebels have humiliated a large army equipped with expensive weapons. Resignation, that Sri Lanka's generals and political leaders have bungled again. Anxiety, as to where the situation is leading.Much has changed since 1989, when President Ranasinghe Premadasa provided the rebels with weapons and money to fight the Indian Peace Keeping Force invited to Sri Lanka by his predecessor. No longer do Buddhist monks and mobs of young men demonstrate in Colombo demanding that the Indians be thrown out. Instead, the Lankans are hoping that India will intervene again. This time, to save their army. More..
Published: Mon May 29 22:39:04 EDT 2000

Waiting for Eelam
The-Week, June 4. There is a big smile on the face of P. Nedumaran, convenor of the Tamil Desiya Katchi (Tamil Nationalist Party) and perhaps the most ardent supporter of LTTE chief Velupillai Prabhakaran. Nedumaran's office in Chennai is dominated by a large photograph of him with the LTTE supremo. These days Nedumaran is convinced that the tide has finally turned in favour of the Tamil Tigers. "The LTTE is regaining its own land, the Jaffna peninsula. It is only a matter of time before the Sinhala army loses the battle," he says. More...
Published: Mon May 29 21:52:25 EDT 2000

RJD says no to humanitarian aid to Lankan govt
India-Today, May30. The Rashtriya Janata Dal's (RJD) Tamil Nadu unit on Monday opposed the extension of humanitarian assistance to Sri Lanka and said that the Centre's approach should be 'supportive' of the ‘freedom struggle’ for a Tamil Eelam.RJD state president K. Jagaveerapandian claimed that since the time of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, the country's policy had been in support of the Tamils' freedom struggle in Sri Lanka. More...
Published: Mon May 29 21:16:33 EDT 2000

India's will in Jaffna
India Today, May30. The limited tactical victories enjoyed by Indian commanders during the IPKF deployment showed that firepower was the only fitting answer to LTTE. Indeed, firepower is the best way to offset the lack of intelligence. Indian intelligence on the LTTE has not improved much since the IPKF days. By using heavy artillery against Sri Lankan troops, the LTTE has provided the opening for the use of heavy artillery against its troops.

What about another Indian peacekeeping force? The lessons of Kosovo and Kargil say that India's intervention must come from a distance as it must be heavy. The Indian Air Force and Navy, for instance, might provide fire cover for a Sri Lankan Army counterattack on the LTTE. India might even consider leasing field artillery to Sri Lanka. New Delhi might ask some specialist "advising" units to deploy. But if all this fails, bring in the attack helicopters and fight the battle. There might not be another opportunity like this-not just for ending a two decade civil war, but for the fear it will strike in the hearts of foreign mercenaries in the hills of Kashmir. More...
Published: Mon May 29 21:14:52 EDT 2000

The Last War Unto Peace?
Outlook, June5. With Norway and the US getting involved, diplomatic activity to find a negotiated political settlement to the Lankan crisis has picked up. But despite the hectic activities in Oslo, Colombo and New Delhi, analysts believe the negotiations will not take off until the rebel military offensive in the Jaffna peninsula ends. And obviously, the outcome of the battle would have a major bearing on the peace talks.On the talks front, the ltte seems to be indicating that it's serious about reaching a peaceful settlement. "The ltte is supposed to have told the Norwegians that they are realists and understand that a separate state is not achievable and that they could settle for less," says senior government source. More...
Published: Mon May 29 21:07:43 EDT 2000

The Best Guerrilla of All
Outlook, June5. It was a sunny morning in a Tiger safehouse in Chennai, facing the Bay of Bengal. Prabhakaran was meeting a journalist for the very first time in his life.When I saw him in flesh-and-blood for the first time, I was speechless with disappointment. He'd walked into the room but I had not recognised him, hypnotised as I was by the video in which he looked handsome and six feet tall. The man who walked in was short, stocky and looked like a petty Tamil businessman. I assumed it must be a Tiger supporter and just gave him a cursory nod.Several moments later, a soft voice said in Tamil: "Naan thaan Prabhakaran." Literally translated, "I am only Prabhakaran." He'd figured I had failed to recognise him. I looked at him disbelievingly, saying to myself, "Yeah, and naan thaan Cleopatra." The man was smiling, almost apologetically.And I figured why Prabhakaran was silent in the video. Macho man had an effeminate voice that would have undermined the action hero image. I struggled to mask my disbelief and disappointment More...
Published: Mon May 29 21:01:01 EDT 2000

US Navy keeping watch on Lanka
Rediff, May28. Despite America's public stand that it would not interfere in Sri Lankan affairs, Indian intelligence agencies have reported movements of some American ships and at least one US aircraft in and around the island nation. At least one long-range maritime aircraft of the United States Navy was detected flying over the Jaffna region on Friday. Sources said it "was probably on a reconnaissance mission". More...
Published: Mon May 29 20:52:14 EDT 2000

Sea change in stand on Lanka
Rediff, May30. The political agenda in Tamil Nadu is witnessing a sea change as main Dravidian parties which fought for Tamil rights are learning to live with compulsions of a coalition government at the Centre and concern for the rightful cause of Tamils in Sri Lanka.Led by Dravida Munnetra Kazagham president and Chief Minister M Karunanidhi, political parties in the state are exchanging long-held ideologies for coalition politics and Tamil nationalism for practical necessity.What is more, the Dravidian politicians now insist that a separate Eelam for Tamils is not the only solution to end the ethnic conflict. More...
Published: Mon May 29 20:45:03 EDT 2000

The forgotten uprising
Rediff, May30. The year was 1971. Late one evening, an Indian naval ship apparently radioed Colombo harbour. "Am having engine trouble. Request permission to put in at the harbour." The port authorities readily agreed. Immediately another message came in: "Have sister ship with me as well. Request permission for that too to put in." The port authorities, once again, agreed. After all, they had no reason not to. The Sri Lankan government started to panic. Mrs Bandaranaike finally got on the phone and called up her good friend Mrs Gandhi in Delhi, requesting her to send military assistance. Back came the reply from Delhi: "By a strange coincidence, there happen to be two shiploads of Gurkhas sitting in Colombo harbour right now. They are at your disposal to put down the disturbances." Very clearly, it was no coincidence. Indian Intelligence had got wind of the Trotskyite uprising long before the Sri Lankans themselves did and India took pre-emptive measures by sending in the Gurkhas to stand by, in case of need. More...
Published: Mon May 29 20:42:35 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka aborts rebel suicide mission amid US visit
Orientation-afp, May29. The Sri Lankan navy sank a Tamil rebel suicide boat during sporadic fighting as US Undersecretary for Political Affairs Thomas Pickering arrived for talks here Monday.The government said the navy destroyed a Tamil Tiger supply craft as well as another packed with explosives before it could ram a navy gunboat off the coast of Mullaitivu."Both LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) boats were destroyed together with the occupants due to naval gun fire," the government said adding five more rebel boats were also attacked. More...
Published: Mon May 29 20:33:41 EDT 2000

US opposes Sri Lanka censorship
Orientation-afp, May29. A top US official Monday called for "unfettered" press freedom in Sri Lanka where the government has slapped a tight censorship following a deteriorating military crisis in the island's north.US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, Thomas Pickering said that the Sri Lankan government must ensure that civil liberties are not curtailed "even in times of difficulties in the battlefield." Pickering said during Monday's talks he urged Sri Lankan leaders to press ahead with a bipartisan approach to the country's drawn out Tamil separatist conflict. More...
Published: Mon May 29 20:30:31 EDT 2000

US rules out Tamil state
BBC, Monday, 29 May, 2000, 17:04 GMT 18:04 UK. The Tigers are fighting to retake Jaffna A senior US State Department official, Thomas Pickering, has ruled out a separate state as demanded by Tamil Tiger rebels in Sri Lanka. Speaking at the end of a brief visit to Sri Lanka, Mr Pickering said: "I don't believe there is any international support that I can find for a new separate state of Eelam here in this island." More...
Published: Mon May 29 20:22:50 EDT 2000

LTTE forcing kids, elderly into war
The Statesman, May30. Colombo today charged the LTTE with forcing schoolchildren and the elderly to pick up guns against the army, as the Lankan navy sunk two rebel supply boats and damaged five in heavy fighting in northern Jaffna.“The LTTE, in an attempt to boost the depleting numbers of its cadre, has begun a massive conscription drive in the area under its control,” an official release here said.“LTTE’s area leaders are summoning civilians to village schools and asking everyone over 45 years to undergo short military training with immediate effect.” The men and women were then being deployed to man rebel defences in the Vanni region, it said. More...
Published: Mon May 29 20:18:54 EDT 2000

US against Eelam, favours political settlement
DECCAN HERALD, May30. Visiting US Under-Secretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas R Pickering today conveyed to President Chandrika Kumaratunga his country`s ''firm opposition`` to the carving out of a separate state of Eelam and favoured a negotiated political settlement to the ethnic strife that safeguarded Sri Lanka`s integrity and sovereignty, the State radio reported. Mr Pickering, who arrived here on a day`s visit after talks in New Delhi with Indian officials on the ethnic conflict, met the president this evening after discussions with Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar and Leader of the Opposition Ranil Wickeremasinghe. More...
Published: Mon May 29 20:15:23 EDT 2000

Civilians dying in Jaffna: UNHCR
The DailyPioneer, May30. UN workers have come across hundreds of families carrying their wounded out of the northern war zone, where they say civilians are being killed, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees said on Monday. In a statement issued in Colombo, the UNHCR said its field staff members were coming across hundreds of families fleeing the war theater with their wounded. "In interviews with UNHCR staff members, these persons indicated they were fleeing hostilities. There were injured among them," the statement said. More...
Published: Mon May 29 20:11:06 EDT 2000

Lanka battle spills into the sea
Times Of India, May29. Sri Lanka's war spread to the sea for the first time in six weeks, with the navy destroying rebel boats ferrying arms and ammunition to the guerrillas in the north, the government said Monday. The navy intercepted and fired at seven speeding boats of the Sea Tigers, the naval unit of the Tamil Tiger guerrillas, destroying two vessels and damaging the rest, government spokeswoman Kusum Rodrigo said in a statement. More..
Published: Mon May 29 19:57:51 EDT 2000

No US role in Lanka: Pickering
Times Of India, May29. The US Under Secretary of State, Thomas Pickering on Monday, said that the issue of military aid in the form of arms donations or technical advise did not figure in his talks with representatives from the Sri Lankan government.While dismissing the presence of US warships in Sri Lankan waters as "totally false," Pickering added that the

Sri Lankan government did broach the issue of purchasing military equipment from the arms manufacturers in the US. More..
Published: Mon May 29 19:57:52 EDT 2000

Pressing for freedom in Sri Lanka - Opinion.
Hindustan Times, May28. Chandrika Kumaratunga is desperate to muzzle criticism of her government in the run up to general elections, writes Lasantha Wickrematunge It is one thing to protect the people against a repressive government; it is quite another to protect an increasingly insecure government against itself.Very soon, Chandrika Kumaratunge proved herself to be her mother’s daughter. She brought in blanket military censorship laws. The presidential campaign in 1999 was conducted under this stringent military censorship in full force; thereby shutting out any information on the performance of Kumaratunga as commander-in-chief and defence minister with regard to the war. More..
Published: Mon May 29 19:50:37 EDT 2000

Pickering wrests concessions from Sri Lanka Government
Hindustan Times, May 29. THE US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, Mr.Thomas Pickering, today held out the promise of US support for the maintenance of Sri Lanka's unity and integrity. But at the same time he got an assurance from the Sri Lankan government that the process of political negotiations to solve the ethnic question would start soon and that the recent curbs on civil liberties and Press freedom which the government had imposed would be lifted.The US government, he said, would however give humanitarian assistance if requested to do so. And in this the NGOs would be co-opted. He said that the story about US warships moving closer to Sri Lanka was totally false. More..
Published: Mon May 29 19:43:31 EDT 2000

Aravinda makes merry
Hindustan Times, Dhaka, May 29. Aravinda de Silva took his new role of opener to heart, and that was bad news for the Bangladeshi bowlers. The veteran clubbed the home side to submission with a tremendous knock of 96 as Sri Lanka, chasing Bangladesh's 175 for six, coasted to 178 for one to gain full points in the opening match of the Asia Cup at the Bangabandhu National Stadium tonight. More..
Published: Mon May 29 19:43:31 EDT 2000

Tamil Tigers poised to maul Sri Lankan troops BATTLE FOR JAFFNA
Globe and Mail, May27. Heroine, diplomat, warmonger, fool.

In more than five years in office, Sri Lanka's charming and cunning President Chandrika Kumaratunga, the Sorbonne-educated daughter of two prime ministers, has been painted many shades, but perhaps none as dark as the defeated image she now bears. Having promised to crush the world's most feared guerrilla group, the Tamil Tigers -- and having driven her country deep into debt to do it -- Ms. Kumaratunga finds herself on the verge of defeat and as helpless as she was in December when a Tiger suicide bomber came close to killing her. More..
Published: Mon May 29 19:36:01 EDT 2000

Dividing Sri Lanka would mean rivers of blood
Golbe and Mail, May29. The recent military successes recorded by Tamil separatist rebels in Sri Lanka may give the impression that they are on the verge of realizing their dream of an independent Tamil homeland. That impression is false. The quest for a Tamil homeland is a futile, self-destructive struggle waged by a ruthless terrorist group in pursuit of an unattainable goal. More..
Published: Mon May 29 19:30:44 EDT 2000

Sri Lankan Navy destroys LTTE boats
Hindu, May 29. Amidst intense fighting in Jaffna peninsula in which the Sri Lankan Navy, for the first time in six weeks of war today, destroyed LTTE boats carrying arms and ammunitions for the Tamil rebels, the United States asked the guerrillas to halt its operation and join peace talks with the Government to reach a political solution to the ethnic conflict.

Published: Mon May 29 19:25:59 EDT 2000

U.S. concern over fate of Jaffna civilians
Hindu, MAY 29.. The United States Under-Secretary of State for Political Affairs, Mr. Thomas Pickering, on Monday reiterated his country's opposition to an independent Tamil Eelam and voiced the concern of the international community about the fate of around 4.5 lakh civilians trapped in the embattled Jaffna peninsula.Accusing the LTTE of attempting to ``induct more cadres and supplies'' to the peninsula during the ceasefire, the Government said in a statement its troops had thwarted these attempts using tanks and mortars.

Meanwhile, the LTTE, which had said its declaration of a ``unilateral''

ceasefire was to enable civilians to move out of the Themarachchi division of Jaffna peninsula, the present theatre of operations, accused the Government of not respecting the truce, and of preventing the movement of people by shelling the area. More..
Published: Mon May 29 19:23:06 EDT 2000

Editorial: Time To Tame The Tigers The world must pressure the to talk peace in Sri Lanka
AsiaWeek, June 2. Sometimes the means invalidates the ends. Consider the Tamil Tigers' 17-year fight for an independent state in Sri Lanka. Yes, it deserves the attention of international peacemakers, who have been scrambling to head off an impending bloody battle for Jaffna town, the former Tiger stronghold lost to Colombo's forces in 1995. Last week the Asian Human Rights Commission called on the U.N. and the E.U. to intervene. But when one recalls the ruthless lengths to which the Tigers are willing to go in pursuit of their goal, the prospect of them taking control of an independent country, complete with diplomatically immune embassies around the world, seems nothing short of nightmarish. More...
Published: Mon May 29 15:03:53 EDT 2000

U.S. official in Sri Lanka, talks to focus on conflict
CNN, May 29, 2000. In a trip that some expected would boost the morale of Sri Lankan troops battling insurgents, U.S. Undersecretary of State Thomas Pickering arrived in Sri Lanka on Monday.

The United States, which included the LTTE on its 1997 list of terrorist organizations, opposes a separate Tamil state in Sri Lanka, and says a military solution to the fighting is not the answer.

Officials reported only sporadic fighting since Friday, when the rebels had set a deadline for government troops to withdraw from the Jaffna peninsula or face a "bloodbath." The soldiers stayed and the government called the threat a ruse. More..
Published: Mon May 29 13:04:32 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka restrict Bangladesh to 175-6 in Asia Cup opener
Orientation-AFP, DHAKA, May 29. Defending champions Sri Lanka kept hosts Bangladesh down to 175-6 from 50 overs in the opening match of the four-nation Asia Cup limited-overs tournament here on Monday.

Bangladesh, hoping to earn Test status next month, struggled for runs against the tight Sri Lankan bowling after being sent to bat in overcast conditions. More...
Published: Mon May 29 12:42:58 EDT 2000

Sri Lankan fighting spreads to the sea
CBS-UPI, COLOMBO, Sri Lanka, May 29. The Sri Lankan government said Monday that the separatist Tamil Tiger guerrillas suffered a serious setback when the navy foiled their suicide mission, sinking two rebel boats in the north.

A statement issued by the Special Media Information Centee said the fast attack crafts of the Sri Lankan navy confronted a fleet of rebel boats off the Nagarkovil coast in the northern Jaffna peninsula. The rebels were bringing reinforcements in one boat, while the other one was a suicide craft loaded with explosives. More...
Published: Mon May 29 12:35:33 EDT 2000

US urges warring factions to return to table.
Mr. Pickering in Colombo
(BBC photo)
Roy Denish in Colombo, SLT, 7.20pm Monday.. United States government urged ruling People's Alliance government and separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to return to the negotiating table as there were no signs of military solution to the ongoing conflict. US under state secretary for political affairs Thomas Pickering in the commercial city of Sri Lanka told a news conference that both parties should have entered into negotiating table eight years ago and the talks should begin immediately.

"I want the talks to begin right-away", he said.

"We will not support an independent state being created nor we would support a separate state" he said when questioned whether the US will recognize if LTTE succeeds in creating an independent homeland for minority Tamils.

Adding, he said that US government was very concerned over the reports of heavy fighting that raging in northern Jaffna peninsula. "The government and the LTTE should enter into direct negotiations immediately", he stressed.

"We and India fully support the initiatives taken by the Norwegian government to bring an end to this conflict". Pickering who is in Sri Lanka following the visit by US president Bill Clinton's South Asian visit in March this year said.

Asked whether the US government was in direct touch with LTTE, he answered in negative and stated that US government will use its good offices to send a message to the LTTE leadership to return to the negoatiating table.

Pickering also dismissed media reports that US naval ships were moving towards Sri Lankan territorial waters and said the reports were totally "incorrect". The under secretary is on a short visit after meeting the Indian and Pakistan leaders. "We are seriously concerned over reports of civilians being caught in the crossfire and about reports that there was severe shortage for necessary commodity items". Pickering said.

"We are closely watching the situation, but under no circumstances we will provide any military assistance", Pickering said. He said during his discussions with president Chandrika Kumaratunge there were indications that government of Sri Lanka was purchasing military hardware from US arms manufacturers but no request was made for military assistance.

He added that India would not provide any military assistance but was ready to provide humanitarian assistance if need arises. He further added that several bilateral topics were discussed with Sri Lankan political leaders that included the leader of the opposition, Ranil Wickrmasinghe.
Published: Mon May 29 10:01:11 EDT 2000

LTTE enlisting all civilians above 45 years
India Today, May 29, 2000. The Sri Lankan government on Monday charged the LTTE with conscripting all school children along with men and women above 45 years of age in northern Vanni region, even as the fighting intensified in northern Jaffna with Navy destroying two supply boats and damaging five others. LTTE's area leaders were summoning the civilians to village schools and asking every one over 45 years to undergo short military training with immediate effect, it said. More...
Published: Mon May 29 11:43:30 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka aborts rebel suicide mission amid US visit
Orientation, May 29, Colombo. The Sri Lankan navy sank a Tamil rebel suicide boat during sporadic fighting as US Undersecretary for Political Affairs Thomas Pickering arrived for talks here Monday. The government said the navy destroyed a Tamil Tiger supply craft as well as another packed with explosives before it could ram a navy gunboat off the coast of Mullaitivu. "Both LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) boats were destroyed together with the occupants due to naval gun fire," the government said adding five more rebel boats were also attacked. More...
Published: Mon May 29 11:35:31 EDT 2000

US push for Jaffna talks
BBC, Monday, 29 May, 2000, 10:40 GMT 11:40 UK. Washington has said it favours dialogue between the government and the rebels and is backing Norwegian and Indian efforts to end the fighting. [Listen]
Published: Mon May 29 11:25:09 EDT 2000

Pickering rules out US military assistance to Lanka
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 6.10 p.m. SLT Monday May 29. U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, Thomas Pickering today ruled out any military assistance to Sri Lanka. At a press conference held at the Opposition Leader, Ranil Wickramasinghe's residence, Pickering said urgent humanitarian assistance was needed for Sri Lanka's war torn North, but when asked if he had arrived in Colombo with any proposal to help Sri Lanka end her crisis he answered in the negative.

Pickering refuted speculation that US warships may have been directed to keep a discreet vigilance on Sri Lanka's northern coastline thus helping boost troop morale in Sri Lanka's embattled war zone.
Published: Mon May 29 08:24:36 EDT 2000

Cricket-Sri Lanka win toss and put Bangladesh in to bat
Reuters, Monday May 29. DHAKA, May 29 (Reuters) - Sri Lanka won the toss and put Bangladesh in to bat in the opening match of the Asia Cup at the Bangabandhu National Stadium on Monday.The game, originally scheduled for Sunday, was put back a day because of rain. More...
Published: Mon May 29 08:21:37 EDT 2000

U.S. worried over human catastrophe in Sri Lanka
Reuters, SLT Monday May 29. COLOMBO, May 29 (Reuters) - U.S. Under Secretary of State Thomas Pickering said on Monday Washington was concerned about a potential humanitarian catastrophe in Sri Lanka's north where government troops and Tamil rebels are locked in fierce battles. More...
Published: Mon May 29 08:16:09 EDT 2000

US under secretary in Colombo
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 4.10 p.m. SLT Monday May 29. Thomas Pickering, United States, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs arrived in Colombo today after holding talks with the Indian Government and a Norwegian delegation in New Delhi.

Indian news reports state that the talks also centered on the war situation in Sri Lanka. The Hindustan Times reported last week that the conflict in Sri Lanka figured prominently in discussions between Indian Foreign Secretary Lalit Mansingh, Pickering and the Norwegian Ambassador Raymond Johansen.

US diplomats in Colombo have remained tight-lipped over Pickering's visit to Colombo today saying, they are unable to make any immediate comments on the under secretary's visit.

India meanwhile continues to reiterate that it has offered humanitarian assistance to Sri Lanka though no official request for help has yet come from Colombo.

Both Pickering and Lalit Mansingh have emphatically stated that the US and India will not support a separate state carved out by the LTTE, which both countries have banned as a terrorist organization.
Published: Mon May 29 08:09:04 EDT 2000

Fisheries Minister says India should mediate Sri Lankan crisis
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 4.12 p.m. SLT Monday May 29 . Mahinda Rajapakse, Minister for Fisheries in Sri Lanka has said that India is better suited than Pakistan to broker a peaceful resolution to Sri Lanka's conflict. While on a visit to India, the Minister has reiterated that India is the most likely nation, with the ability to bring the LTTE to the negotiating table.

He has further added that Pakistan should be wary of the dreaded guerilla outfit fighting for a separate state in northern Sri Lanka, as the Tigers next target could be Pakistan.
Published: Mon May 29 08:09:04 EDT 2000

No response from military to LTTE ceasefire on Saturday
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 4.15 p.m. SLT Monday May 29. There was no response from the government on the LTTE's call for a 12 hour ceasefire on Saturday May 27, in order to help Jaffna's civilian population move out of the war stricken area.

Speaking to Lacnet, Brigadier Palitha Fernando, said the military were "unaware of a ceasefire initiated by the LTTE." He added that as far as the military are concerned there was no cessation of hostilities.

The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in a statement issued yesterday said, that there had been no response from the State to the human rights organization requesting that "military actions be suspended for the period of the LTTE declared cease-fire" on May 27 Saturday, "in the interest of the civilians, who may be moving during that time."

Meanwhile the LTTE in a press release also said that the Sri Lankan government had not cooperated to help the UNHCR evacuate some 15,000 civilians from the Chavakacheri area where heavy fighting continues to rage between the military and the Tigers.
Published: Mon May 29 08:09:04 EDT 2000

Batticaloa tense after Tigers step up attacks
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, The Sri Lanka Army Saturday May 27, conducted. and arrested some 25 persons in eastern Batticaloa. The arrests come in the wake of renewed attacks by the LTTE on armed force bases situated in Batticaloa.

In what appears to be an attempt by the Tigers to divert the military's attention from the northern front, the LTTE in the last two weeks have launched sporadic attacks on troop bases in Batticaloa. The attacks by the rebels also killed six members of one family and injured two, as they continued to fire heavy artillery and mortars into the Kathankudy and Kallady areas of the eastern town.
Published: Mon May 29 08:09:04 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka's Tamil War Spills to Sea
By DILIP GANGULY,Associated Press Writer, SLT Monday May 29. COLOMBO,05/29/00,Sri Lanka (AP) -- Sri Lanka's war spilled into the sea for thefirst time in six weeks, with the navy destroying rebel boats ferrying arms and ammunition to the guerrillas in the north, the government said today. More...
Published: Mon May 29 08:08:31 EDT 2000

Pickering holds discussion with Sri Lankan Foreign Minister.
Roy Denish in Colombo, SLT, 11.30am Monday. United States under secretary for political affairs Thomas Pickering on a short visit to Sri Lanka held discussions with Foreign minister Lakshman Kadiragamar at his residence just a few hours ago. The discussions centered on the ongoing fighting between government troops and separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE). A spokesman for the foreign ministry said Pickering will meet president Chandrika Kumratunge late afternoon today before addressing a news conference at the residence of Peter Clausen, the director of the United States information service (USIS). The news conference is scheduled at local time 6.00pm.

Pickering's visit comes hard on the heels after reports that elements of US naval ships were moving towards the territorial waters of Sri Lanka to give moral support to government troops fighting the LTTE in Jaffna peninsula.
Published: Mon May 29 02:17:54 EDT 2000

The rain washed Asia Cup Cricket tournament is expected to begin in Dhaka.
All India Radio, May 29,2000,1030hrs. (IST). The postponed opening match of the seventh Asia Cup Cricket Tournament between hosts Bangladesh and defending champions Sri Lanka is to be played in Dhaka today. More...
Published: Mon May 29 04:06:33 EDT 2000

US-Sri Lanka talks
BBC, May 29. The American Under-Secretary of State, Thomas Pickering, has arrived in the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo, to discuss ways of ending the government's long-running conflict with Tamil Tiger rebels. He is due to meet President Chandrika Kumaratunga, who last week said she would support a ceasefire if the rebels froze their present positions and began peace talks. More...
Published: Mon May 29 01:51:58 EDT 2000

17-year war for eelam comes to A head
The Asian Age, May 29, 2000 Although the war between the Sri Lankan troops and the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam has been raging since last 17 years, the prospect of a separate Tamil state has never been more real than it is now. More...
Published: Mon May 29 01:44:03 EDT 2000

U.S. official's Sri Lanka trip seen lifting morale
ABC-Reuters, May/29/2000 00:56:00 ET. U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas Pickering arrived in Colombo on Monday on a one-day visit that is likely to help lift the bruised morale of the Sri Lankan government battling Tamil Tiger rebels. Pickering, the third highest ranking official in the U.S. State Department, was scheduled to meet President Chandrika Kumaratunga and other political leaders in the capital during his short visit that comes as part of a South Asian tour. His visit is being seen as affirmation of the U.S. stance to oppose the creation of a separate Tamil state in Sri Lanka, as demanded by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebels. More...
Published: Mon May 29 01:35:16 EDT 2000

Fresh fighting begins between Lankan troops and LTTE
NDTV, Monday, May 29. In Sri Lanka, fresh fighting between the Lankan troops and the LTTE has broken out in Jaffna. According to the government, the LTTE attacked military defence lines at Columbuthurai and Chavakachcheri yesterday. The government has also alleged that the Tamil Tiger rebels did not honour their own unilateral 12-hour ceasefire offer, which was to allow civilians trapped in battle zones in the northern Jaffna peninsula to escape to safety. The LTTE has however said that persistent artillery and aerial bombardment by the Sri Lankan army on Saturday made escape impossible for about 15,000 Tamil civilians trapped in the Chavakachcheri sector of Jaffna. They still remain at considerable risk. More...
Published: Sun May 28 23:16:18 EDT 2000

US Navy keeping watch on Lanka
File photo of P3C Orion
Rediff, May 28, 2000. Despite America's public stand that it would not interfere in Sri Lankan affairs, Indian intelligence agencies have reported movements of some American ships and at least one US aircraft in and around the island nation. The American aircraft was a P3C Orion, which probably took off from Diego Garcia, the Indian Ocean island where American forces have a task force, sources said. More...
Published: Sun May 28 19:51:47 EDT 2000

Between Cocktails and Insurgency: An Unreal Port In a Distant Storm
Washington Post, Sunday, May 28, 2000. For 17 years, a rebel army known as the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam has been fighting for the rights of Sri Lanka's ethnic Tamil minority. Its goal is an independent homeland called Tamil Eelam, its creed is fanatical and its methods are terrifying--especially the practice of wiring teenage martyrs with body bombs that explode in public places.

In some ways, the silence is deceptive. Periodically, the capital has been rocked by Tiger suicide bomb blasts, including one that partially blinded Kumaratunga at a political rally in December. The next blast could come at any time, and everyone in Colombo knows it. There are army bunkers on every corner and endless traffic jams caused by security-related detours. More...
Published: Sun May 28 19:44:56 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka battles blast Tiger truce, UN concern for civilians
Orientation-AFP, COLOMBO, May 28. Sri Lankan troops and Tamil rebels pounded each other with artillery despite a unilateral truce offer from the guerrillas, officials said Sunday, as a UN agency voiced concern for civilians caught in the battle zone.

The military accused the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelamof violating their own truce by attacking military defence lines at Columbuthurai and Chavakachcheri in the northern Jaffna peninsula throughout Saturday.

The spokesman said the guerrillas were under mounting pressure as the military poured new weapons into Jaffna. The army has deployed multi-barrelled rocket launchers it did not previously possess, he said.

In a statement issued late Saturday, the government accused the LTTE of trying to assume a "pseudo bravado" among civilians in the Jaffna peninsula. More...
Published: Sun May 28 19:08:26 EDT 2000

India's 'passive' role irks Sri Lankans
Hindu, COLOMBO, MAY 28. Despite the visit of the U.S. Under-Secretary for Political Affairs, Mr. Thomas Pickering, tomorrow, being high on Sri Lanka's agenda, the diplomatic spotlight remains firmly on India's perceived ``passive'' role in the island's military crisis.

The contradiction between India's stated position in favour of a united Sri Lanka, and its perceived ``passive'' role in the current military crisis, is coming under question here, with dubious motives being attributed to New Delhi's offer of humanitarian assistance. ``Should India keep mum when the existence of a democratically-elected Government is threatened by a terrorist group,'' asked a columnist in today's Sunday Times newspaper. More...
Published: Sun May 28 19:05:55 EDT 2000

Jaffna remains quiet
Hindu, COLOMBO, MAY 28. A day after the unilateral 12-hour ceasefire of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), the Jaffna peninsula remained largely quiet, with only sporadic clashes reported in the Chavakachcheri area.

A statement issued by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) here said hundreds of civilians moved out of the Thenmarachchi division during Saturday's ceasefire. But contrary to the LTTE's wishes that they move south into the Vanni mainland controlled by it, most of the fleeing civilians seemed to have preferred to move into Government- controlled areas.

The UNHCR said 400 families had arrived at Mulli, and had moved towards Point Pedro. Another 60 families had arrived at Karaveddy. ``In both locations, the people arriving stated that other civilians were moving out of the area of hostilities,'' it said. More...
Published: Sun May 28 19:04:19 EDT 2000

Lanka optimistic on eve of Pickering’s arrival
Hindustan Times, Colombo, May 29. WITH ITS 30,000 troops managing to hold on to large territory in northern Jaffna, despite the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) attacks, the Sri Lankan Government is hopeful that peace moves would gather momentum during US Under Secretary of State Thomas Pickering's visit to Colombo tomorrow.

Reflecting the Government's optimism in the face of the grim situation in the peninsula, the State-run Sunday Observer newspaper today reported that the peace moves, being sought from India and the US and initiated by Norway, was expected to gather pace with Pickering's visit to the island nation. More...
Published: Sun May 28 19:01:21 EDT 2000

Ceasefire offer was LTTE’s ploy to trigger civilian exodus, says Lanka
Hindustan Times, Colombo, May 28. THE SRI Lankan government did not respond to the LTTE’s offer of a 12-hour ceasefire in the Thenmarachchi division on Saturday because it was but a ploy to force civilians to move out for political and military reasons, the military spokesman, Brig Palitha Fernando, said here today.

At any rate, the LTTE itself did not observe what was purported to be a unilateral ceasefire. According to a release from government’s Special Media Information Centre today, there was sporadic artillery and mortar shelling by the LTTE in the Columbuthurai and Chavakacheri areas on Saturday and that the government troops had replied in kind.

Brig Fernando told The Hindustan Times that the LTTE had two interests in mind. One was to get a clear line of fire and the other was to trigger an exodus to the Wanni, an area in its control, so that it could trumpet the exodus as a grave humanitarian crisis and secure the sympathy of the international community. More...
Published: Sun May 28 18:59:18 EDT 2000

Conflict in Lanka goes `unreported'
Pioneer, May 29. All that was left of the Sri Lankan Sunday Times opinion-editorial page on the dire situation faced by the country's army on the northern Jaffna peninsula was one word: "censored".

President Chandrika Kumaratunga earlier this month invoked the public security ordinance -- a law last used under British colonial rule during World War II -- imposing censorship and suspending some civil liberties in response to a potential humiliating defeat by secessionist Tamil rebels.

The Sunday Times, a paper not identified with any of the leading political parties, submitted its article on the Jaffna campaign to the censor. It was returned with the following instruction: "This article, picture/map are censored and are not to be published." More...
Published: Sun May 28 18:55:13 EDT 2000

MDMK to organise Eelam Tamils protection rally
Pioneer, May 29. The Marumalarchi DMK (MDMK), a constituent of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance at the centre, will organise a "Eelam Tamils protection rally" here on June five.

MDMK general secretary Vaiko, an ardent supporter of the banned Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), would lead the rally from Valluvar Kottam to Panagal park, a party release said on Sunday. More...
Published: Sun May 28 18:52:24 EDT 2000

Fierce fighting in Sri Lanka
Pioneer, May 28. Sri Lankan troops and Tamil Tigers traded artillery and mortar bomb fire in the northern peninsula of Jaffna, despite a unilateral truce offered by the rebels, the Government said on Sunday. More...
Published: Sun May 28 18:50:55 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka keeps up offensive despite Tiger truce
Yahoo-India Abroad, Colombo, May 28. The Sri Lankan government accused Tamil Tiger rebels of violating a truce announced unilaterally by the guerrillas as security forces in Jaffna geared up to face a fresh offensive.

Tiger rebels fired artillery and mortar shells at government defense posts in Colombuthurai and Chavakachcheri during the 12-hour cease-fire which the Tamil separatists had called, the government said in a statement.

Government troops reinforced with new military hardware continued to bomb rebel positions on Saturday, paying no heed to the truce announced by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) secretariat in London, a spokesman for the Defense Ministry said. More...
Published: Sun May 28 18:47:44 EDT 2000

Lankan Tamils in Canada plan 'victory celebrations'
Yahoo-India Abroad, Toronto, May 28 . Tamils of Sri Lankan descent have announced plans for "victory celebrations" in three Canadian cities for the recent territorial gains made by Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebels against government troops in the island nation.

The celebrations, to be held in Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal, are being organized by the World Tamil Movement and the Federation of Associations of Canadian Tamils (FACT). The events are being advertised in local Tamil papers and on the groups' Web sites.

The advertisements in ethnic Tamil papers feature the Tamil Tiger flag and a photo inset of LTTE chief Velupillai Prabhakaran. The Ottawa event is advertised as "a celebration to mark the unstoppable 'Unceasing Waves,'" as the current rebel offensive is codenamed.

Published: Sun May 28 18:46:28 EDT 2000

More Lankan refugees arrive in TN
ExpressIndia, Sunday, 28 May. RAMESWARAM: A fresh batch of 75 sri lankan refugees have arrived here and revenue officials had been requested to shift them to the Mandapam camp, according to a senior naval official at Uchipuli.

Published: Sun May 28 12:21:57 EDT 2000

Renewed fighting in Jaffna
BBC, Sunday, 28 May. Reports from Sri Lanka's northern Jaffna peninsula say there has been renewed fighting following Saturday's temporary unilateral ceasefire announced by the Tamil Tiger rebels. Artillery exchanges between government troops and the rebels have been reported. There have also been reports that the air force had been in action. More...
Published: Sun May 28 12:07:21 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka's opposition stage "peace pilgrimage"
Orientation, May 28, Colombo. Sri Lanka's main opposition staged a mass religious service in a southern pilgrim town seeking divine intervention to restore peace in the embattled island, party officials said Sunday. Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe led a motorcade of some 500 vehicles and arrived Saturday at Kataragama, 280 kilometres (175 miles) south of the capital to pray for an end to the seemingly unending Tamil separatist war. More...
Published: Sun May 28 12:04:17 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka rebels ask for aid/Newspaper blacks out Rajapakse statement
CBS-UPI, May 28, 2000 03:05. The separatist Tamil Tiger guerrillas are perhaps the only rebels in the world who are urging the international community to aid and abet their armed struggle against a legitimate government.

Meanwhile, the Sri Lankan government Saturday ordered the local newspaper in Colombo to black out a statement by one of its senior minister made here. The Sri Lankan fisheries minister, Mahinda Rajapakse, had said that Sri Lankans do not trust the Norwegians as impartial mediators between the government and the LTTE.

Rajapakse said that the mistrust was based on the past experience of Sri Lankans. ``We know it because we have been ruled by Portuguese, the Dutch and the British in the past. We have had very bad experiences with western countries,'' Rajapakse told reporters.

The statement has embarrassed Colombo, which is pinning its hopes on the Norwegian initiative. President Chandrika Kumaratunga has thrown her weight behind the Norwegian efforts to bring the rebels to the negotiating table. She recently reiterated her offer for talks following the visit of Norway's deputy foreign minister Raymond Johanson. More...
Published: Sun May 28 11:07:31 EDT 2000

Exclusive Aaj Tak Video report: Interview of CBK
India Today, May 27, 2000. [Watch] (in Hindi and in English)
Published: Sat May 27 22:54:18 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka peace moves gets US push
The Indian Express, Sunday, May 28, 2000. Norwegian-backed peace moves in Sri Lanka are expected to get a morale boost with the visit in Colombo on Monday of US Undersecretary of State Thomas Pickering, officials and diplomats said. Officials here noted there was increased cooperation between Colombo and Washington since the US designated Sri Lanka's separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) a "foreign terrorist organisation." As fighting escalated in the Jaffna peninsula, Colombo sought military assistance from neighbouring India, but after New Delhi turned down the request Sri Lanka promptly established diplomatic ties with Israel on May 4. The US immediately welcomed Sri Lanka's snap decision to re-establish diplomatic ties with Israel after 30 years. More...
Published: Sun May 28 11:22:27 EDT 2000

UNHCR says 2,000 flee Lanka war zone
The Indian Express, Sunday, May 28, 2000. Around 2,000 civilians fled the combat zone on Sri Lanka's war torn northern Jaffna peninsula during a lull in the fighting, but many more are still caught in the middle, the UNHRC in Colombo said today. he statement by the U.N. High Commissioner for refugees said its staff on Jaffna monitored yesterday's movement of civilians out of Thenmarachchi division, a few miles east of Jaffna town, into government controlled areas on the peninsula. More...
Published: Sun May 28 11:18:21 EDT 2000

Lanka vows to oust Tigers out of Jaffna
The Indian Express, May 27, Colombo. Sri Lanka's military vowed on Saturday to defend Jaffna against a major Tamil rebel offensive as the guerrillas announced a unilateral truce to allow civilians to move out. Army General Jaanaka Perera said the military was pushing back the LTTE in the Jaffna peninsula and that the troop morale was high with the induction of new weapons and equipment. "The unceasing waves are now chasing the Tigers," Perera said over national radio referring to the rebel offensive code-named Unceasing Waves III aimed at retaking the Jaffna peninsula. More...
Published: Sun May 28 11:15:55 EDT 2000

Troops still strongly holding on to Jaffna
Government of Sri Lanka, 27 May 2000. In an interview last Thursday,Lakshman Kadirgarmar, Minister of Foreign Affairs, strongly stressed, "I can only speak on the stand the government will take and that it is fully committed to holding Jaffna and it has no intention of yielding Jaffna to the LTTE. The army will take all necessary measures towards this end." More...
Published: Sun May 28 11:13:19 EDT 2000

A govt.-announced ceasefire in Sri Lanka
CBS-PTI, May 28, 2000 07:42. The Sri Lankan government Sunday announced a cease-fire with separatist Tamil Tigers, a full day after the rebels called a 12-hour hiatus in fighting to allow civilians to leave an area south of Jaffna. More...
Published: Sun May 28 11:03:02 EDT 2000

UNCHR says Sri Lanka ignored ceasefire notice
CBS-PTI, May 28, 2000 08:29. United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said Sunday the Sri Lankan government ignored a unilateral ceasefire notification issued by the separatist Tamil Tigers to allow civilians to leave an area south of Jaffna. Sri Lankan officials said they had not been informed of the 12-hour hiatus in fighting, a statement disputed by the UNHCR, which said it notified the ministry of defense as well as the Joint Operations Headquarters in Colombo. More...
Published: Sun May 28 11:00:38 EDT 2000

U.S. envoy to arrive in Sri Lanka
CBS-PTI, May 28, 2000 04:19. The U.S. undersecretary of state, Thomas Pickering, is scheduled to arrive in Colombo Monday to hold discussions with Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga and other senior government officials. A statement issued by the Sri Lankan foreign ministry said that the U.S. official would meet the foreign minister Lakshman Kadirgamar and other officials of the ministry during his day-long visit. More...
Published: Sun May 28 10:59:14 EDT 2000

70 stranded Lankan refugees rescued
Chennai Online, Chennai, May 28. About 70 Sri Lankan Tamil refugees were left stranded after they were dropped at the fifth island off Rameswaram last night. According to reports received at the police headquarters here, a boatman carrying them from the strife-torn Tamil areas in the Jaffna Peninsula, dropped them at the island fearing attack by the Sri Lankan navy. More...
Published: Sun May 28 10:56:19 EDT 2000

LTTE hits continue despite truce call
Chennai Online, Colombo, May 28. The LTTE continued its attack on security forces with artillery and mortar at Colombuthurai and Chavakachcheri in Jaffna, though the Tigers had announced a unilateral ceasefire Saturday. A government spokesman said the LTTE attack continued throughout the day. Troops also engaged the suspected terrorist positions with artillery and mortar fire. More...
Published: Sun May 28 10:53:57 EDT 2000

Ashoka stupa found in Orissa
Rediff, May 27, 2000. An Ashoka stupa has been discovered atop the Langudi hill, an ancient Buddhist site in coastal Orissa, along with an inscription referring to the great Mauryan emperor Ashoka. Archaeologists have described the discovery as unique as no inscription in the name of Emperor Ashoka or stupa has ever been discovered at any Buddhist site in the state. Ashoka has been credited with the construction of 84,000 stupas. Pradhan said at least 10 terracota seals were discovered, but these were yet to be deciphered. More...
Published: Sun May 28 10:51:03 EDT 2000

U.S. backs Norway's initiative
The Hindu, Islamabad, May 27. The United States today extended support to the peace initiatives taken by Norway, and supported by India, for a settlement of the continuing crisis in Sri Lanka. Mr. Pickering, who is scheduled to visit the troubled island- nation, said: ``I look forward to going to Sri Lanka after the week-end to have an opportunity to bring myself up to date on what's happening in that very troubled situation.'' More...
Published: Sun May 28 10:47:06 EDT 2000

Situation in Jaffna an “indirect threat” to India: former COAS
India Today, New Delhi, May 27. Former Army chief Gen Shankar Roychoudhury has said the situation in Jaffna did have a long-term “indirect threat” to India and that any military intervention by New Delhi should have the backing of Tamil parties and groups back home. He agreed with former foreign secretary J.N. Dixit's assertion that “Sri Lanka (IPKF operation) was not India's Vietnam”. “IPKF could not finish the task as parties in Tamil Nadu were not taken into confidence,” Gen Roychoudhury said. Dixit had described New Delhi's policy on the present situation in Jaffna peninsula as ambiguous. (UNI) More...
Published: Sun May 28 10:41:54 EDT 2000

PWG warns government not to help Sri Lanka against LTTE
The Pioneer, New Delhi, Sunday, May 28, 2000. In a rare show of solidarity with Tamil Tiger guerrillas, the Maoist People's War Group (PWG) has warned the Indian government against helping the Sri Lankan government in the battle raging for control of Jaffna. The PWG, which is active in states such as Andhra Pradesh and Bihar, has been linked by intelligence reports to guerilla organisations such as the LTTE, which reportedly not only supplies arms to it but also imparts training to its cadres in detonating land mines and in other modes of warfare. More...
Published: Sun May 28 10:30:12 EDT 2000

We want India to broker peace: Rajapaksa
The Pioneer, New Delhi, Sunday, May 28, 2000. Sri Lanka on Saturday expressed doubt over the Norwegian initiative to broker peace in the ethnic strife-torn country and said India must play a role in bringing Tamil rebels to the negotiating table. "Sri Lankan people might not trust them (Norwegians) as an impartial peace broker," the country's Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, who is here to participate in the inaguration of a post graduate diploma launched by an NGO, said. More...
Published: Sun May 28 10:26:58 EDT 2000

Civilians unmoved by Sri Lanka ceasefire
BBC, Sunday, 28 May. Reports from northern Sri Lanka say that few civilians appear to have taken advantage of a ceasefire announced by Tamil Tiger guerrillas so they could leave combat areas.

Aid workers said the area near Jaffna city appeared quiet yesterday Saturday, and there was no sign that many people had left. More..
Published: Sun May 28 03:23:25 EDT 2000

Unilateral ceasefire by LTTE has little impact
NDTV, Sunday, May 28 (Colombo). The 12-hour unilateral ceasefire by the LTTE yesterday, which was meant to enable civilians to leave the frontline battle zones in northern Jaffna, had a limited impact. The Sri Lankan army did not participate in the ceasefire saying that it had no information about one being observed and called the LTTE gesture "fraudulent". More..
Published: Sun May 28 03:13:23 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka denies rebel claim of ceasefire shelling
MSNBC, LONDON, May 28. Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels said on Sunday army shelling stopped the evacuation of civilians from the war zone in Jaffna during a ceasefire, but the military dismissed the report as lies.

''The evacuation of an estimated 15,000 civilians from the embattled Chavakachcheri sector failed Saturday, as heavy shelling by the Sri Lankan army prevented them moving to designated points where the UNHCR officials were waiting,'' the LTTE said in a statement released in London.

The government dismissed the LTTE statement as propaganda aimed at unnerving the people on Jaffna and lowering morale in its forces. More..
Published: Sun May 28 03:08:08 EDT 2000

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