The Lanka Academic

JUNE 8, 2001 EST, USA
VOL. 2, NO. 63

Headline Summary
F R E E      C L A S S I F I E D S
T  O  P      H  E  A  D  L  I  N  E
Solheim superceded: Norwegian govt.will take lead role in peace process
Roy Mendis in Colombo. The Norwegian Special Envoy and Facilitator Mr.Erik Solheim has been superceded and from now on, the lead role in the peace process from the Norwegian side will be played by the Norwegian government,or more specifically,the Norwegian Foreign Ministry.

A press release issued by the Sri Lankan Ministry of Foreign Affairs here today said that at the meeting between the Sri Lankan President Mrs.Chandrika Kumaratunga and the Norwegian Foreign Minister Mr.Thorbjoern Jagland on thursday "it was decided that the Government of Norway will henceforth participate at a high level to advance the peace process involving the LTTE."

Though Mr.Solheim was part of Mr.Jagland's entourage,and he was the hands on man in the peace process, he was not invited to participate in the Chandrika-Jagland talks.

The Sri Lankan government has for some time been wanting to have the Norwegian government as such on board for a variety of reasons.The most important of which was to give the Norwegian role greater power and legitimacy and the peace process greater credibility and continuity.Though Mr.Solheim is an accredited representative of the Oslo regime,he is an opposition politician.The Sri Lankan foreign ministry would rather relate to the Norwegian Foreign Ministry, sources close to the government said.

Mr.Solheim would still be the facilitator,but the Norwegian Foreign Office would be playing a more active role in the peace process than hitherto.
Published: Fri Jun 8 10:47:14 EDT 2001

Related News Stories
Solheim sidelined in peace process?  - The Hindu (International)
Envoy dropped as Norway tries to revive Sri Lanka peace bid  -

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Send in a question to the veteran Sri Lankan politician, Mr. Vasudeva Nanayakkara and receive his answer! We are pleased to announce the fifth guest at our online Q&A sessions at The Lanka Academic.

Mr. Vasudeva Nanayakkara began his political career as a student activist in the Lanka Sama Samaja Party in 1958. He was elected to then National Assembly in 1970 as a member of Parliament from Kiriella in the United Front government of the SLFP, LSSP and the Ceylon Communist Party. In 1975 he split from the LSSP of Dr. N.M.Perera, Dr. Colvin R. De Silva et al. to launch the Nava Lanka Sama Samaja Party along with Dr. Vickramabhahu Karunaratne. Although defeated in the general election of 1977 Mr. Nanayakkara was back in parliament in 1989 as a member of the United Socialist Alliance(USA). He rejoined the LSSP and the PA in 1994 and was elected as an MP. in 199, he crossed over to the opposition. In 1982 and 1999, he also contested as a Presidential candidate. To ask a question, click here.

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Lanka seeks quid pro quo to lift ban on LTTE
Roy Mendis in Colombo, 1.04 PM SLT Friday,June 8, 2001. Sri Lanka has apparently told Norway that it could lift the ban on the LTTE if the LTTE were to give some concrete and acceptable proof that it is genuinely interested in finding a peaceful and negotiated settlement of the ethnic question.

Only a select few are privy to what President Chandrika Kumaratunga told the visiting Norwegian Foreign Minister Mr.Thorbjoern Jagland when he met her here late thursday evening.And these are sworn to secrecy.But given the domestic and international pulls and pressures to which it is now subject, the government is apparently open to the idea of lifting the ban on the LTTE provided the latter gives ample proof of its peaceful intentions.

A source close to the government said that the least that the LTTE could do was to sign the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which it had agreed to do.The government had also agreed to sign it,but the LTTE suddenly came up with the demand for de-proscription ahead of talks and scuttled the move.The government could also insist that the LTTE make a public,international declaration that it was giving up violence and terrorism.In fact on thursday,President Kumaratunga asked the LTTE to "stop playing the fool" and come for talks.

Said Justice Minister Mr.Batty Weerakoon: "The government has to be sure that the LTTE is not using the issue of the ban as a ploy to delay or scuttle the peace process.The LTTE should show very positive signs of commitment to finding a solution through peace negotiations.Why can't it reopen the Vavuniya-Jaffna road for civilian traffic to prove its commitment to peace ?"

The LTTE is talking about the need to restore normalcy in the war torn areas to create a conducive atmosphere for peace talks.But both Mr.Weerakoon and his cabinet colleague Mr.Douglas Devananda of the EPDP, feel that as a quid pro quo for the lifting the restrictions on the flow of goods and people in and out of the Wanni, the LTTE should also lift the curbs imposed by it.An obvious expectation is the opening of the Jaffna -Vavuniya Main Supply Route (A9 highway).
Published: Fri Jun 8 03:00:08 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Eleven acquitted of Tamil attack
BBC South Asia, Friday, 8 June, 2001, 12:26 GMT 13:26 UK . The Attorney General in Sri Lanka has ordered the acquittal of 11 people accused of killing Tamil detainees. Human rights activists say no reason was given for the acquittal of the suspects, who include three policemen and two security officers. The killings occurred at a rehabilitation camp Bindunuwewe set up to give vocational training to former Tamil rebels.The BBC Colombo correspondent says there's growing concern that the perpetrators of one of Sri Lanka's worst acts of ethnic violence in recent years may never be brought to justice. More...
Published: Fri Jun 8 09:33:45 EDT 2001 Back to the top

No confidence motion against government
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 6.10 p.m. SLT Friday June 8. The United National Party today collected nearly 60 signatures from its members for a no confidence motion against the government. The UNP says the Peoples Alliance government led by President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge has no moral authority to rule. The motion will be presented next week to parliament.

The UNP says it is confident the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna, the Tamil United Liberation Front, the Tamil Eelam Liberation Organization and the All Ceylon Tamil Congress will support the motion.

The party is certain the motion of no confidence will gather momentum once the parliamentary debate on the issue begins and that members from the coalition Peoples Alliance will also lend support.

Meanwhile, both the opposition and members of the ruling party will challenge a Supreme Court ruling which issued a Stay Order on Speaker Anura Bandaranaike from appointing a Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) to probe allegations of mis-conduct and adultery against the Chief Justice.

Deputy Speaker Sarath Munasinghe today told Bandaranaike that the Speaker should not entertain the Stay Order as it violates the supremacy of Parliament and its legislators.

Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and D. M. Jayaratne were today given a copy of the letter initiated by the opposition parties to gather signatures calling upon the Speaker to ignore the court ruling and appoint a PSC to study the impeachment motion against Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva.

Speaker Anura Bandaranaike is scheduled to travel abroad tomorrow Saturday June 9 and will take a decision on the matter after his return on June 15.
Published: Fri Jun 8 08:23:37 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Lanka goes beyond Solheim to seek Norway govt's official involvement
Roy Mendis in Colombo, 1.17 PM SLT Friday June 8,2001. In a series of recent actions, the Sri Lankan government has indicated that it is keen on enlarging,deepening and officialising Norways' involvement in the peace process, going beyond its current semi-official and somewhat indirect involvement through an opposition politician, Mr.Erik Solheim.

Political circles in Colombo see significance in two recent happenings.The first is President Chandrika Kumaratunga's sudden invitation to the Norwegian Foreign Minister Mr.Thorbjoern Jagland for talks on the peace process,even as the Norwegian government had designated Mr. Solheim as its Special Envoy and Facilitator.The second is the absence of Mr.Solheim from the Chandrika-Jagland talks on thursday even though he was in town as part of Mr.Jagland's entourage.

An agency report said that the Norwegian Embassy spokesman Mr.Tomas Stangeland explained Mr.Solheim's absence by pointing out that the President's invitation was for Foreign Minister Jagland only.But grapevine has it that the government of Sri Lanka wants to strike a relationship with Norwegian government directly and bring it on board the peace process.

Apparently, there are reasons for Colombo's wanting the Norwegian government's direct involvement.Firstly,Mr.Solheim is not part of the Norwegian government.Secondly,there is a theoretical possibility of his wanting to bow out of the peace process at some point.If he did,the peace process could either stop in its tracks or even get derailed.On the other hand, if the Norwegian government were to get involved in the peace process directly and officially,any such breach would be filled quickly.Thirdly, an official and more direct involvement of Oslo in the process would give Norway's facilitatory role greater credibility,legitimacy and muscle.

Mr.Solheim's conduct as a facilitator has been a bit controversial.Only recently,Prime Minister Mr.Ratnasiri Wickramanayake had told a meeting in Horana that Mr.Solheim was crossing limits,going beyond his role as Facilitator.Any pro-activism on his part tends to be interpreted in South Sri Lanka as a pro-LTTE stance,because the LTTE has been wanting Mr.Solheim and Norway to go beyond mere facilitation to mediation.

According to sources close to the government, Mr.Solheim's strong public condemnation of the role of Operation Agni Kheila in disrupting the peace process and his willingness to express his views in websites have made Colombo uneasy.Colombo has in the past been very sensitive to foreign envoys' public remarks on the domestic situation in Sri Lanka.Not so long ago,Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar had ticked off the UN system's envoy in Colombo for his comments on the ethnic situation.
Published: Fri Jun 8 04:07:44 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Related News Stories
Norway foreign minister leaves Sri Lanka  - India Abroad
Norway foreign minister meets Kumaratunga  - Times of India (Breaking News)

CWE hits rock bottom
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 6.25 p.m. SLT Friday June 8. The Cooperative Wholesale Establishment (CWE) is in debt to no less than eight banks for a sum of over rupees nine billion. The CWEs position of liability to the banks as at May 31, 2001 is for Rs. 9, 580,104/-

The State Enterprise is also in debt to private companies for millions of rupees, so much so, the firms have stopped supplying goods to CWE food outlets.

The CWE has used a total of over rupees four billion for short term loans, import loans, the encashment of O/D facilities and for utilization of funds for loan settlements.

The wholesale enterprise for food has been rolling funds from the eight different banks finally leaving the one time lucrative establishment bankrupt. Some of the banks the CWE is in debt to are the Bank of Ceylon, the Peoples Bank, Hatton National Bank, Citi Bank, Commercial Bank, Sampath Bank, Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation and the Central Bank.

The CWE is not only in deep financial constraints with the banks but also owes leading commercial & trading establishment's massive sums of money. Unilever Ceylon Limited, Stassens, Nestles and Anchor Milk Foods this week stopped supplying the full quantity of items to the CWE, until outstanding payments with the companies are settled.

Owing Unilever Ceylon Limited over Rs. 30 million, the company has decided it would supply CWE outlets with beggar rations and that too only if the State Enterprise paid at least some of the monies due.

The companies maintain that the CWE does not honour its commitment to the private firms on time and ignore credit deadlines not even establishing any guarantees to meet their debt.

The CWE in addition owes Rs. 56 million to Nestles, and an additional Rs. 45 million to Anchor Milk Foods. A top official at Anchor Milk Foods said the company has stopped supplying all CWE outlets completely until at least Rs. 15 million of the outstanding debt with the firm is paid.

The food establishment is in debt to the Bank of Ceylon for a total of Rs. 5,774,628/- while it owes Hong Kong & Shanghai Banking Corporation Rs. 1,290,328/-. The CWE debt at the Peoples Bank amounts to Rs. 94,405/- to the Hatton National Bank it owes a sum of Rs. 402,091/-. The deficit at Citi Bank is for Rs. 350,000/-, at Commercial Bank the debt is for Rs. 868,378/- at Sampath Bank for Rs. 120,800/- while its shortfall to the Central Bank is for Rs. 679,474/-.
Published: Fri Jun 8 08:23:38 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Lankan cricket board employees being probed: Report
Times of India (Breaking News), Friday . 8 June 2001

Several employees of the Board of Control for Cricket in Sri Lanka are under investigation for financial irregularities during the previous regime, a press report said. "Several paid employees are under scrutiny," the Daily Mirror said on Friday, quoting sources in the interim committee. More...
Published: Fri Jun 8 09:46:37 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka fighting claims seven Tigers, three soldiers, Jun 08 2001 15:32 IST. COLOMBO, June 8 (AFP) - Tamil Tiger guerrillas killed three members of security forces in ambushes in northern Sri Lanka Friday, while soldiers killed seven of the Tiger rebels, the defence ministry said. Gunmen of the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) attacked soldiers transporting food for their colleagues in the northern district of Vavuniya, killing two of them, officials said. More...
Published: Fri Jun 8 06:47:18 EDT 2001 Back to the top

German remanded over Sri Lanka court contempt, Jun 08 2001 17:55 IST. A German national working in Sri Lanka has been remanded by the Colombo High Court on a contempt charge, police said Friday. The man was remanded until Tuesday for showing disrespect to the court on Thursday. Police said the man had been in court in response to a complaint he had filed against another. More...
Published: Fri Jun 8 09:35:53 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Norway FM leaves Sri Lanka after 12-hour visit, Jun 08 2001 09:15 IST. Norway's Foreign Minister Thorbjoern Jagland left here Friday after talks with President Chandrika Kumaratunga on Oslo's stalled peace bid in the island, officials said. Jagland, who was accompanied by Oslo's special peace envoy to Sri Lanka Erik Solheim, left early Friday ending a 12-hour visit, officials said. He held talks with Kumaratunga and Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar, but details of the discussions were not immediately available. However, the Norwegian embassy said Solheim was not invited to the talks with President Kumaratunga. "It was an invitation to the (Norwegian) Foreign Minister and not for Mr. Solheim," embassy spokesman Tomas Stangeland said. More...
Published: Fri Jun 8 00:28:33 EDT 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Oslo peace envoy dropped from key Sri Lanka talks  -
Norway FM leaves after 12-hour visit  -

Sri Lanka urged to drop ban on Tamil Tigers
Deccan Herald, June 7 . Sri Lanka was urged today to lift a ban on Tamil Tiger rebels to help push forward a stalled peace process as Norway's top diplomat was due to arrive for talks with President Chandrika Kumaratunga. An umbrella body grouping about 30 peace and human rights organisations issued a statement before the arrival of Norwegian Foreign Minister Thorbjoern Jagland saying the government should meet a demand by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) that a ban on the group be lifted so talks can start. More...
Published: Thu Jun 7 18:56:52 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lankan remanded for breeding mosquitoes, Jun 08 2001 10:43 IST. COLOMBO, June 8 (AFP) - A magistrate in central Sri Lanka has remanded a bus company manager for ignoring public health warnings and breeding mosquitoes in his yard, a press report said Friday .The Matale bus depot manager was remanded till Monday for haphazardly dumping old tyres in which rain water got collected and provided rich breeding ground for mosquitoes, the Daily Mirror said. More...
Published: Fri Jun 8 03:56:54 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Lankan Minister against shooting at Tamil Nadu fishermen
Roy Mendis in Colombo, 11.54 AM SLT Thursday June 7,2001. Indicating a clash of perspectives between the fisheries ministry and the navy on the question of tackling the intrusion of Tamil Nadu fishermen into Sri Lankan waters in the Palk Strait,the Minister for Fisheries Mr.Mahinda Rajapakse has said that fishermen should not be shot at.

"You can't shoot a fishermen," he told a media conference here today.

Indian fishermen keep complaining that they get shot at and killed by Sri Lankan navy which fears that they may be in cahoots with the LTTE.According to Mr.Rajapakse,there has been no known case of Sri Lankan fishermen being shot at or killed by the Indian navy or Coast Guard.

Indian and Sri Lankan fishermen who get caught in each other's territorial waters,should be treated in a spirit of compassion and kindness, while giving due recognition to the security imperatives of the two countries and the maritime boundary agreements of 1974 and 1976, Mr.Rajapakse said.

While Indian fishermen from Tamil Nadu intrude into Sri Lankan waters east of Kachcchativu looking for prawns,Sri Lankan fishermen intrude into Indian territorial waters en route to international waters in the Arabian Sea.

During his talks with his Indian counterpart Mr.Nitish Kumar in New Delhi on June 1, the two sides reached a consensus on a number of remedial steps,Mr.Rajapakse said.

Officials of the two sides recommended the setting up of a Joint Monitoring Committee to expeditiously look into cases of intrusion and the arrest,prosecution and release of intruders.This bilateral committee of officials would meet once in two months in Colombo and New Delhi alternately.A one time amnesty for the 63 Sri Lankan fishermen now in Indian custody and 51 Indian fishermen in Sri Lankan custody and free access to the Arabaia Sea via Indian waters for Sri Lankan fishermen were also recommended.

Mr.Rajapakse said that these would be put together in the form of formal proposal and submitted by his ministry to the Indian government by June 15.

The Sri Lankan ministry of fisheries sees the problem of encroachment as being a perennial one "like traffic violations", as an official put it.Apparently,Colombo is not pursuing the option of joint patrolling by the Indian and Sri Lankan navies in view of the reluctance of the Indians.On joint patrolling,all that Mr.Rajapakse would say was,it was "possible that it would help".About the other option of transferring Kachchativu to India,he said that it was not even discussed in New Delhi.
Published: Thu Jun 7 01:52:07 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Lanka may have to adopt Indian model to end constitutional tussle
Roy Mendis in Colombo, 1.53 PM, Thursday June 7, 2001. Sri Lanka may have to consider adopting the Indian system to end the current constitutional tussle between parliament and the Supreme Court over the question of setting up a house committee to investigate charges of misbehaviour and incompetence against Supreme Court Chief Justice Sarath N.Silva made by the opposition United National Party (UNP).

According to Mr.M.M.Zuhair PC, the Supreme Court restrained the Speaker from forming a Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) to investigate the charges because the members of this committee (MPs) would not have the requisite judicial expertise.

Mr.Zuhair suggests the amendment of Parliament's Standing Orders of 1984 to require the appointment of judicial experts in such committees.He pointed out that in the draft constitution (now in the limbo) this question was addressed and a provision was made for the appointment of judges from the Commonwealth countries to ensure impartiality as well as expertise.

The Indian Constitution could also be a model,other experts said.It allows the Speaker of the Lower house or the Chairperson of the Upper House to appoint a select committee to investigate the kind of charges made against Justice Silva.But the members of this committee would have to be judicial experts.There has to be a sitting judge of the Supreme Court,a sitting judge of a High Court and an eminent jurist in the three person committee.

After this expert panel submits its recommendations to the Speaker/Chairperson, the motion of impeachment will be put to debate and a vote taken.To be carried, the motion will have to have the support of two thirds of the MPs present and voting.

Further defending the Sri Lankan Supreme Court's injunction,Mr.Zuhair pointed out that the Standing Orders of 1984 clearly stated that any order issued under it would have to be in consonance with the constitution. "And the right to interpret the constitution is the exclusive preserve of the Supreme Court," he argued.

Mr.Zuhair said that it was wrong to describe the present conflict as a "constitutional crisis" because the opposition, and not the government, was in conflict with the judiciary.It is,in fact, a conflict between a section of the opposition and the judiciary.The matter now rests with Speaker Anura Bandaranaike,who has said that he will take a decision "in due course."
Published: Thu Jun 7 03:49:44 EDT 2001 Back to the top

"Jagland's visit signals forward movement in peace process"
Roy Mendis in Colombo, 3.50 PM, Thursday,June 7, 2001. The presence of the Norwegian Foreign Minister Mr.Thorbjoern Jagland along with the Special Peace Envoy Mr.Erik Solheim here today at the invitation of the Sri Lankan President Mrs.Chandrika Kumaratunga is seen in diplomatic circles as signifying a forward movement in the peace process which had got deadlocked in recent days.

Asked if the President's invitation to the Norwegian Foreign Minister at this juncture meant that the Sri Lankan government was ready to relent on some key issues like lifting the ban on the LTTE,a diplomat, who declined to be named, said that while he was not privy to the Sri Lankan government's thinking,the event definitely indicated that the ice was being broken: "It is a step forward," he said.

Norwegian embassy spokesman Mr.Tomas Stangeland said that Mr.Jagland and Mr.Solheim,had only one item in the agenda so far,namely, a meeting with President Kumaratunga in the evening.The meeting was taking place at her request, he stressed.An Indian High Commission official said that the Norwegians would keep the High Commissioner informed.The Foreign Ministry might issue a press release on the Chandrika - Jagland talks, diplomats said.The peace makers are expected to leave Colombo early friday morning.

The peace process had ground to a halt a few weeks ago, with both President Kumaratunga and the LTTE taking a tough stance on the critical issue of de-proscription.While the LTTE insisted that there could be no talks if the government did not de-proscribe it first,President Kumaratunga described the condition as "ludicrous" and stated that talks could very well take place even while the ban was there,as in so many similar conflicts the world over.

However,media reports said that the international community was gently persuading the two sides to shed their rigid postures and creatively think of ways to break the impasse.The peace lobby in the island,including the Bishops,were touting the idea of a temporary lifting of the ban for the duration of the talks as a half-way house.Simultaneously, they were appealing to the LTTE not to take a belligerent stand.Last week,the government owned Lake House group of newspapers indicated that the President was re-thinking on the matter and a temporary lifting of the ban could be a subject of discussion at a high level meeting.
Published: Thu Jun 7 06:31:32 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Related News Stories
Solheim back with Norway Minister  - The Hindu (International)
Norwegian foreign minister in Lanka to kick start parleys  - India Abroad

Parliament gears for battle with Supreme Court
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 2.15 p.m. SLT Thursday June 7. Government sources today said that an unprecedented battle is brewing between Parliament and the Supreme Court. After the Opposition handed in a motion to Speaker Anura Bandaranaike yesterday to impeach the Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva, the supreme court stepped in and issued a stay order against the motion asserting that Bandaranaike does not have the power to appoint legislators to study the allegations.

Some members of the ruling Peoples Alliance have today expressed their dis-satisfaction with the supreme court ruling saying the order has overruled the supremacy of Parliament. The members argue that the supreme court also appointed by the State is not supreme over parliament and in that context the courts have perhaps acted in violation of the constitution.

Yesterday, the supreme court ruled that the Speaker would be acting in violation of Article 78 of the constitution if he chose to appoint a Parliamentary Select Committee to probe the allegations of misconduct including charges of adultery against the Chief Justice.

Speaker Anura Bandaranaike is expected to make an announcement today in Parliament with regard to his decision on the matter. It is the first time an impeachment motion against the land's highest judicial officer has been entertained in parliament.
Published: Thu Jun 7 04:13:03 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Related News Stories
Sri Lanka's parliament gears up for battle with Supreme Court  -
S.Lanka's Supreme Court Issues Order to Prevent Impeachment Again Chief Justice  - Nothern Light
Row over Supreme Court's decision on Lanka judge  - Times of India (Breaking News)

Doctors in the northeast threaten strike action
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 1.05 p.m. SLT Thursday June 7. Doctors from the Jaffna Government Medical Officers Association say they will go on an indefinite strike from next Monday if the State does not meet their demands for a risk allowance.

The docs say that this allowance is paid to all medical practitioners around the island except to those working in the country's northern peninsula. Despite repeated discussions with health ministry officials, the doctors are yet to be paid the required amount.

The doctors said today that the emergency units of the hospitals will continue to function despite the strike action beginning on Monday June 11.
Published: Thu Jun 7 04:13:03 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Defence Ministry officials asked to safeguard northern shop owners against extortions
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 11.15 a.m. SLT Thursday June 7. Defence ministry officials have been asked by commercial business enterprises in northern Vavuniya to safeguard their establishments from extortion by Tamil political parties.

The Tamil businessmen allege that members of the Peoples Liberation Of Tamil Eelam (PLOTE) and the Tamil Eelam Liberation Organization (TELO) collect ransoms in the way of goods and supplies from these establishments crippling business in the northern region.

The Defence Ministry has called upon the owners of trading establishments in Vavuniya to supply full details in order for the Government to take appropriate action against the land pirates.
Published: Thu Jun 7 04:13:03 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Fisheries minister to explore more possibilities for Indian and Lankan fishermen
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 9.10 a.m. SLT Thursday June 7. Mahinda Rajapakse, Minister for Fisheries and Aquatic Resources is reported to have said that both he and his Indian counterpart are exploring the possibility of allowing both Indian and Sri Lankan fishermen to fish in each others territorial waters.

Rajapakse maintains that it is extremely difficult for fishermen from both sides to observe the maritime borders in the narrow stretch of water that is the Palk Straits. He points out that fishermen from Tamil Nadu have been shot at and arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy when they stray into Lankan waters on the suspicion that they perhaps aid the LTTE.

The minister says the proposal will be discussed both with the Sri Lankan Navy and the foreign ministers of both nations before a solution is decided.

At present 62 Sri Lankan fishermen are being held in India while 39 Indian fishermen are detained in prisons in Jaffna for poaching in each others territorial waters.
Published: Thu Jun 7 04:13:02 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Related News Stories
Minister calls for humane treatment of fishermen  - The Hindu (International)
Indo-Lankan panel to curb poaching by fishermen  - Yahoo India
Sri Lanka seeks joint patrols to stop straying fishermen  -

World Bank Gives Hundred Million U.S. Dollars for Sri Lankan State Universities
Nothern Light, Thursday, June 07, 2001 9:50 PM EST . The World Bank has allocated 100 million U.S. dollars for the infrastructure development of Sri Lanka's state universities, the official Daily News said on Friday. Minister of Education and Information Technology Indika Gunawardena said on Thursday that the money will be used for improving university libraries, research units, auditoriums, hostels and curriculum development in the war-torn country. The restructuring will keep universities in the country up with global trends, he said. More...
Published: Thu Jun 7 23:00:19 EDT 2001 Back to the top

13 Killed in Clashes in Sri Lanka
Nothern Light, Thursday, June 07, 2001 7:23 AM EST . Clashes between government forces and separatist Tamil Tiger rebels in the north and east of the country on Wednesday have left 13 killed, the Defense Ministry said on Thursday. It said that government forces on an ambush confirmed killing of at least eight rebels of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) who were traveling in a vehicle northwest of Welioya on Wednesday. Government forces on a fighting patrol confronted a small group of Tamil rebels in the same area, killing at least three rebels in the crossfire, it added. More...
Published: Thu Jun 7 09:20:24 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Tigers have rejected Norway peace bid: minister, Jun 07 2001 15:11 IST. COLOMBO, June 7 (AFP) - Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels have spurned Norway's attempts to bring them to the negotiating table, a senior minister told parliament Thursday. Energy Minister Anuruddha Ratwatte said the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) had stepped up their attacks against government forces and civilians despite claims they were keen on peace talks. More...
Published: Thu Jun 7 06:17:51 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka urges India to waive entry fees to Buddhist sites
India Abroad, 7 June 2001. RI Lanka has urged India to waive or reduce the admission fees that pilgrims from the island have to pay to enter Buddhist places of worship there. Fisheries Minister Mahinda Rajapakse, who met India's Tourism Minister Ananth Kumar in New Delhi last week, appealed on behalf of Sri Lankan pilgrims saying that he knew of many islanders who went to India but did not enter the sacred sites as they could not afford the $5 fee. More...
Published: Thu Jun 7 07:53:09 EDT 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka moots Amnesty for poaching fishermen
DECCAN HERALD, 7 June 2001. Sri Lanka has suggested that Indian and Sri Lankan fishermen, apprehended for poaching in each others territorial waters, be granted amnesty to facilitate the release of more than 100 fishermen detained in both countries, official sources said today. The suggestion will be one of the measures that will be considered by a joint committee of officials that will be set up soon to sort out problems relating to fishermen of both countries straying into each others territorial waters, sources said. Sri Lanka's Fisheries Minister Mahinda Rajapakse had made the suggestion during a recent visit to India when he met Agriculture Minister Nitish Kumar, they said. More...
Published: Thu Jun 7 01:35:47 EDT 2001 Back to the top

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