The Lanka Academic

JUNE 11, 2004 EST, USA
VOL. 5, NO. 67

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Sri Lankan peace talks likely to resume in August after president, rebels agree on conditions
Associated Press, Fri June 11, 2004 03:57 EDT . COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Peace talks between Tamil Tiger rebels and the Sri Lankan government are likely to resume in August, after President Chandrika Kumaratunga agreed to discuss the guerrillas' proposal for self-rule, a major Tamil political alliance said Friday. The rebel proposal has been a major stumbling block in restarting talks on ending Sri Lanka - 's 20-year civil war. Negotiations have been stalled since April last year.

Kumaratunga met with members of the Tamil alliance on Thursday to discuss how to revive peace talks with the Tigers. It was her first meeting with the group since her coalition won April 2 parliamentary elections.

``The president told us that she is willing to discuss the interim administration (self-rule) proposal without any precondition,'' Joseph Pararajasingham, a member of the Tamil National Alliance, told The Associated Press. Kumaratunga's government had previously insisted that any negotiations about Tamil autonomy take place simultaneously with discussions about a permanent end to the conflict.

``We have reasons to believe that the talks will start in August,'' Pararajasingham said, but declined to elaborate.

The president's spokesman called the meeting ``positive.'' ``We are optimistic about the talks and the president is of the opinion that (the talks) should resume as soon as possible,'' Harim Peiris said. But he declined to confirm the August timetable given by the Tamil party.

The rebels backed the Tamil alliance in the recent elections, and the group is widely seen as a political proxy for the Tigers. With 22 seats, the alliance is the third largest political party in Parliament, where Kumaratunga's coalition heads a minority government. The Tigers began fighting for a separate Tamil homeland in the north and northeast in 1983, accusing the majority Sinhalese of discrimination.

About 65,000 people were killed before Norway brokered a truce that halted the conflict in 2002. Subsequent peace talks broke down a year later when the rebels withdrew over demands for more autonomy in the regions they control, but the cease-fire has held firm.
Published: Fri Jun 11 05:40:17 EDT 2004

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Chandrika agrees to LTTE ’ s key demand to resume talks  -
S . Lanka rebels , president agree talks basis - party  -
Sri Lanka s Government Agrees to Discuss Autonomy, Rebels Say  -
Major Tamil alliance hardens stance on self-rule in Sri Lanka 's northeast  - Associated Press
LTTE represented Parliamentarians meets with President  - Alladin Hussein in Colombo

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‘ US can learn from Lanka ’ s fight against terror ’, June 12. The United States can learn from the Sri Lankan military’s bloody war with Tamil Tiger rebels as it fights insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan, a top US army commander said on Thursday. Lieutenant General James L Campbell, commander of the US Army in the Pacific, said he was looking into the possibilities of military cooperation between the two countries to help the United States learn tactics. “Sri Lankan security forces have experience in facing the kind of situation that our men and women are facing today in Iraq and Afghanistan,” Campbell told reporters during a visit to the Sri Lankan military headquarters. More...
Published: Fri Jun 11 20:16:03 EDT 2004 Back to the top

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Sri Lanka to reintroduce huge property tax for foreign land owners
Associated Press, Fri June 11, 2004 03:43 EDT . COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) President Chandrika Kumaratunga's government has decided to reintroduce a tough tax regime for foreigners who buy land in Sri Lanka - , a state-run newspaper reported on Friday. It wasn't clear when the tax would take effect again, nor whether it would apply to foreigners who already have purchased land in Sri Lanka - .

Many foreigners, especially Germans, have bought land and constructed holiday homes in this tropical island nation. The government of former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe repealed the tax as part of its efforts to woo foreign investors. However, Wickremesinghe's party lost in April 2 parliamentary elections.

Kumaratunga's main political ally is a Marxist party, which has strongly criticized Wickremesinghe's attempts to liberalize Sri Lanka - 's economy. Dissanayake was quoted by Friday's report as saying foreigners had been allowed to buy property at very low prices.
Published: Fri Jun 11 05:41:31 EDT 2004 Back to the top

Sri Lankan opposition to put up joint front against gov't, XINHUA
Associated Press, Thu June 10, 2004 14:03 EDT . - - COLOMBO, June 10 (Xinhua) -- The opposition parties in Sri Lanka - 's parliament are to join hands against the shaky government of President Chandrika Kumaratunga... Back to the top

Brea man arrested for child molestation conviction in Sri Lanka
Associated Press, Fri June 11, 2004 00:10 EDT . (Brea-AP) -- Authorities say a man who fled Sri Lanka - to escape charges of molesting his four-year-old daughter has been arrested at his home in Brea... Back to the top

Lankan parties to test govt's majority
Dawn, COLOMBO, June 10. All opposition parties have decided to prepare a petition with signatures of 118 members of parliament, asserting their majority as opposed to the 107 members of the government of President Kumaratunga... Back to the top

Sri Lanka aims to rid northeast of land mines by 2006
Associated Press, Thu June 10, 2004 04:43 EDT . - - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) The Sri Lankan government plans to clear all land mines from the island's war-torn northeast by the end of 2006 to facilitate the return home of tens of thousands of Tamil refugees, news reports said Thursday... Back to the top

Sri Lanka to crack down on Buddha goods, June 11, 2004, 08:05 EDT. SRI LANKA’S police and customs have been ordered to seize Buddha Bar music and bikinis with Buddha images because they exploit sacred religious symbols... Back to the top

No move to lift ban on LTTE, says Patil, June 11, 2004. New Delhi: The Centre said on Friday there was no move to lift the ban on LTTE... Back to the top

Peace brokers meet in Norway to share experience in conflict resolution
Associated Press, Thu June 10, 2004 12:09 EDT . - - Norwegians have gained a reputation as global peacemakers by mediating conflicts around the world, including in the Middle East, Sudan, Sri Lanka - and the Philippines... Back to the top

Only 960 million dollars available for Millennium account: official, XINHUA
Associated Press, Thu June 10, 2004 14:17 EDT . The eligible countries, selected from a list of 63 nations, include Armenia, Benin, Bolivia, Cape Verde, Georgia, Ghana, Honduras, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mali, Mongolia, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Senegal, Sri Lanka - and Vanuatu... Back to the top

Uphill Road for Sri Lanka s New Government, June 10, 2004, 12:00 EDT. COLOMBO, June 10 (OneWorld) - Two months after general elections in Sri Lanka, the new government is yet to garner a simple majority, with Parliament holding only seven sessions so far, four of which were suspended after fist cuffs broke out... Back to the top

Alarm over dengue deaths in Sri Lanka, June 10, 2004, 12:00 EDT. Sri Lankan medical authorities have expressed alarm after six people died of dengue fever this month, raising to 24 the number of fatalities this year... Back to the top

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