The Lanka Academic

JUNE 2, 2004 EST, USA
VOL. 5, NO. 58

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Headline Summary
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Sri Lankan army, rebels discuss recent spate of killings that threaten truce
Associated Press, Wed June 2, 2004 04:44 EDT . - - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) A Sri Lankan army general and Tamil Tiger rebel commanders held ``fruitful'' talks Wednesday aimed at ending a spate of killings that threaten the shaky truce between the two sides, a spokeswoman for the European cease-fire monitoring group said. More than 15 people including a military intelligence operative and rebels have been killed in recent weeks in eastern Sri Lanka - . Both the security forces and the rebels have denied targeting each other.

Army Maj. Gen. Shantha Kottegoda and guerrilla leaders met in Batticaloa, 220 kilometers (135 miles) east of the capital, Colombo, said Sri Lanka - Monitoring Mission spokeswoman Disa Finnboga. They plan to meet again on June 16.

``Today's meeting was fruitful and cooperative,'' Finnboga said. ``They also agreed to meet again.''

About 65,000 people were killed in fighting between the separatist rebels and government forces from 1983 to 2002, when a cease-fire was signed. Peace talks since then have stalled.

The Tamil Tigers have blamed the military and former Tiger members who've broken with the main guerrilla group for recent slayings of prominent Tamil figures, including the assassination Monday of a Tamil journalist in eastern Sri Lanka - .

The monitors of a two-year truce between the government and rebels have also warned the slayings could threaten the fragile cease-fire and the peace process.

Meanwhile, most parts of the northeast, where most of Sri Lanka - 's 3.2 million Tamils live, observed a general strike Wednesday to protest the killings, Sri Lankan media reported.
Published: Wed Jun 2 06:46:24 EDT 2004

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Donors warn Sri Lankans over stalled peace talks
Associated Press, Tue June 1, 2004 11:49 EDT . - - BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) Major donors to Sri Lanka - warned the government and Tamil Tiger rebels Tuesday that the south Asian nation risked loosing international aid unless peace negotiations resume soon. The four met to review the situation in Sri Lanka - where a two-year cease-fire is under threat following recent slayings of prominent Tamils. The rebels warned Tuesday of ``calamity and destruction'' unless the military takes immediate steps to halt assassinations.

The donors' expressed ``rising concern'' and condemned such killings, calling on all sides to respect the cease-fire.

Sri Lanka - 's military has denied involvement in the killings. Norwegian peace monitors, who have been trying to save the cease-fire from collapsing, said a Sri Lankan general is scheduled to meet with rebel leaders Wednesday to discuss the situation.

The peace process has been suspended since April last year when the rebels withdrew from talks. Last week, a Norwegian peace broker failed to get the two sides to agree on a new round of negotiations.

The meeting in Brussels included U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and EU External Relations Commissioner Chris Patten.

They said donors should be ready to speed up aid to Sri Lanka - if peace talks resumed. ``Development assistance would inevitably increase as the negotiations made progress,'' their statement added.

The donors urged the Tigers to release all remaining underage soldiers in their ranks and urged the inclusion of the island's Muslim minority in negotiations to find a political settlement.

Published: Tue Jun 1 12:57:21 EDT 2004 Back to the top

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Sri Lankan ruling partners meet to strengthen ties, XINHUA
Associated Press, Wed June 2, 2004 13:07 EDT . - - COLOMBO, June 2 (Xinhua) -- The two major partners of Sri Lanka - ' s ruling freedom alliance have decided to meet once a week to sort out problems between them in a bid to strengthen ties, the official Daily News said on Tuesday.

The Sri Lanka - Freedom Party (SLFP) led by President Chandrika Kumaratunga and the main leftist JVP or People's Liberation Front held lengthy discussions on Monday night on a number of contentious issues following the complaints made by JVP that the SLFP violated the agreement both sides signed in January this year when they forged the United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA).

The two parties will convene the UPFA Steering Committee once a week to sort out problems that may crop up within the alliance and work out future strategies. The Steering Committee was set up during the formation of the alliance to ensure that the MoU signed between the SLFP and the JVP would be implemented in a proper manner. The privately run Island newspaper reported that the SLFP and the JVP failed to resolve their key dispute over the number of ministers which is now standing at 37, two more than the JVP has agreed to restrict to the cabinet. The SLFP has maintained that President Kumaratunga and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse should not be counted as cabinet ministers despite the fact that the two also hold a few government portfolios.

The JVP also warned the SLFP that they should not repeat the disputed policies of the previous government led by former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

The UPFA defeated Wickremesinghe's United National Party in the April 2 parliamentary elections.

The meeting between the two partners came after the JVP General Secretary Tilvin Silva sent a letter to President Kumaratunga on Sunday, complaining that SLFP violated the agreement between them.

Copyright 2004 XINHUA all rights reserved as distributed by WorldSources, Inc.
Published: Wed Jun 2 23:20:40 EDT 2004 Back to the top

CPJ condemns Tamil scribe s killing in Lanka, June 02, 2004, 23:30 EDT. New York, Jun 2 (UNI) An independent, non-partisan organization dedicated to defending press freedom worldwide has condemned the murder of a Tamil journalist Aiyathurai Nadesan in Sri Lanka and is investigating whether the Monday murder was related to his journalistic work... Back to the top

Sri Lankan cricket board says Muralitharan's chances of touring Australia ``50-50.''
Associated Press, Tue June 1, 2004 01:32 EDT . DILIP GANGULY - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Sri Lanka - 's cricket board said Tuesday that offspinner Muthiah Muralitharan's chances of touring Australia in the upcoming two-test series were ``50-50... Back to the top

S . Lanka rebels , govt to work to calm violent east, June 02, 2004, 23:30 EDT. COLOMBO, June 2 (Reuters) - Sri Lanka's government and Tamil Tiger rebels agreed on Wednesday to boost cooperation in the restive east of the island, where a string of killings has hampered efforts to end 20 years of civil war... Back to the top

Lankan issue : Vaiko seeks Centre s role, June 02, 2004, 08:45 EDT. TIRUNELVELI: MDMK leader Vaiko on Sunday sought a positive contribution from the Indian Government for a solution to the Sri Lankan issue... Back to the top

Murali might tour Australia: Sri Lanka board, June 02, 2004, 08:45 EDT. The Sri Lankan board has indicated that Muttiah Muralitharan might still be part of the squad for the tour to Australia which starts later this month... Back to the top

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