The Lanka Academic

VOL. 4, NO. 272

2004: TLA wishes you a very Happy New Year!
Headline Summary
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United States urges Sri Lanka 's leaders to end political tug-of-war
Associated Press, Sat January 3, 2004 11:45 EST . KRISHAN FRANCIS - Associated Press Writer - Colombo, Sri Lanka - (AP) U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell has urged Sri Lanka - 's feuding president and prime minister to quickly end their political dispute, which threatens efforts to end the country's two-decade civil war, an official said Saturday. ``The secretary of state did write to the president and the prime minister about the ... crisis,'' said Bruce Lohof, the counselor for public affairs at the U.S embassy Sri Lanka - 's capital, Colombo.

``He communicated his belief that a speedy resolution to the impasse was needed, and urged the two leaders to work toward solving the dispute,'' Lohof said.

The Tamil Tigers began fighting in 1983 to create a separate homeland for the country's minority ethnic Tamils, who claim discrimination at the hands of the majority Sinhalese. The conflict claimed at least 65,000 lives.

Norway brokered a cease-fire in February 2002, and the rebels have agreed on limited autonomy instead of full independence. But peace talks held since then have bogged down, with the rebels and Norwegian mediators pulling out until the political crisis is resolved.

The country's two leaders, from rival political parties, were elected separately. They've held several fruitless talks on their dispute.

The U.S State Department issued a statement days ago, saying the political impasse ``cannot be allowed to continue.''

It said U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage plans to hold discussions with Norway, along with other peace process backers Japan and the European Union, to try ending the crisis.
Published: Sat Jan 3 12:24:56 EST 2004

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Powell urges Sri Lankan leaders to resolve differences+  - Associated Press

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LTTE hopes to talk to a new government on peace process
Alladin Hussein in Colombo, January 3, 2004, 7.51 pm. LTTE Theoretician Anton Balasingham is reported to have informed a government minister in London recently that the LTTE would only recommence peace talks after a new government is elected to power, the Eelam People Democratic Party claimed today.

Balasingham who met Minister of Community Development P. Chandrasekaran recently in London told him that the LTTE also had no intention of agreeing to a separate Independent Muslim Delegation at future peace talks.

The EPDP claim comes amidst unconfirmed reports of a possible general election early this year, following a political crisis in the country after President Chandrika Kumaratunga took over three vital ministries in November last year, which has also led to the stalled peace talks.

Meanwhile Sri Lanka Muslim Congress Leader Rauff Hakeem is reported to have condemned a recent statement by LTTE political wing leader S.P. Thamilsevam that the Memorandum of Understanding between the LTTE and SLMC signed in April 2002 has been cancelled.
Published: Sat Jan 3 08:56:56 EST 2004 Back to the top

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SLMC deliberates suggestion on Interim Constitution
Alladin Hussein in Colombo, January 3, 2003, 7.46 pm. The High Command of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) will deliberate today night over the party’s suggestion of drawing up a ‘Interim Constitution’ for the country as the long term solution to the two decade long ethnic conflict. A spokesman for the party told the Lanka Academic that it would be deliberated today whether its suggestion is feasible or not.

SLMC’s leader Rauff Hakeem on January 1st, announced that his party had come up with a suggestion to formulate an Interim constitution rather than only formulating a proposal on an Interim Administrative structure fro the North and East.

But he said that even though his party thought it was a good suggestion, the opinions of other major stakeholders in the community would also be sought on the matter before drawing up the Interim Constitution. The SLMC is also expected to meet with North East Parliamentarians, other Muslim religious leaders and intellectuals within the next two weeks before finalizing any proposal.

The Interim Constitution is a complete set of proposals, which will cover the entire country and not only the North and East.
Published: Sat Jan 3 08:52:10 EST 2004 Back to the top

South Asian leaders arrive for major summit boosted by easing India, Pakistan tensions
Associated Press, Sat January 3, 2004 03:13 EST . PATRICK McDOWELL - Associated Press Writer - The summit, which begins Sunday, brings together the leaders of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka - , Nepal, the Maldives and Bhutan for the first time in two years... Back to the top

Sri Lanka cricket probe continues, 3 January, 2004. Police have seized documents from the offices of Sri Lanka Cricket as part of an ongoing passport fraud inquiry... Back to the top

View from Colombo: Tourism sector defies gloomy predictions, 03-01-2004 . The tourism industry, which has become an integral part of the island's economy during the past three decades, continues to set new records despite some gloomy forecasts... Back to the top

Tamils struggle for rights in Sri Lanka
com, January 03, 2004 . Like their ancestors who worked for British tea baron Sir Thomas Lipton, the 200 workers at the Dambatene tea plantation have spent their lives toiling in the lush fields that sprawl over this tropical island off the southern tip of India... Back to the top

Youth escapes from ‘Tiger clutch’
Alladin Hussein in Colombo, January 2, 2004, 10.56 pm. Three youths who were abducted by the LTTE and underwent two and a half months of rigorous arms training have escaped from a LTTE camp in Thoppiagala, Southeast of Polonnaruwa, army said... Back to the top

India News : Sri Lanka India offers funds to upgrade Sri Lankan ..., Jan 2. The Indian government has offered to provide Rs.500 million to Sri Lanka to upgrade an air base in the northern Jaffna peninsula, the official Daily News said Friday... Back to the top

President asks police to work with dedication
Alladin Hussein in Colombo, January 2, 2003, 10.53 pm. President Chandrika Kumaratunga vowed today that crime in the country will be eradicated under an ‘action plan to fight crime’... Back to the top

SRI LANKA : HOPE ON EVERY HORIZON, January 3. The beaches are still empty but stylish hotels are opening apace... Back to the top

Colombo in bid to lift aid freeze, January 2, 9:00 EST. Sri Lanka has opened talks with peace broker Norway to help resume the flow of millions of dollars in foreign aid suspended due to the power struggle here, a government spokesman said yesterday... Back to the top

Lankan Muslims' proposal puts spokes in LTTE wheel, January 2, 9:00 EST. Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) leader Rauff Hakeem's suggestion that Sri Lankans go in for an Interim Constitution for the entire country rather than give an Interim Administration only for the Tamil-dominated North-Eastern Province (NEP), has put spokes in the LTTE's wheel... Back to the top

LEAD: India hopes to create SAARC Economic Union by 2015+
Associated Press, Fri January 2, 2004 15:11 EST . - - SAARC groups Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka - ... Back to the top

Background and facts on the SAARC forum
Associated Press, Fri January 2, 2004 03:10 EST . - - MEMBERS: India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka - , Nepal, Maldives and Bhutan... Back to the top

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