The Lanka Academic

JUNE 12, 2004 EST, USA
VOL. 5, NO. 68

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Headline Summary
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Sri Lankan president says no decision taken on resumption of peace talks with Tamil rebels
Associated Press, Sat June 12, 2004 11:13 EDT . - - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Sri Lanka - 's president on Saturday denied that she had agreed to resume peace talks with Tamil rebels to grant them interim self-rule without getting a commitment from the guerrillas to discuss a final settlement of the 20-year conflict.

The rebels ``would like the talks to focus only on proposals to set up an Interim Authority while the government has indicated the need to engage in discussions on a permanent solution to the conflict,'' President Chandrika Kumaratunga said during a televised address to the nation.

Her stand contradicted what a major Tamil political alliance said Friday after talks with the president, the first since her United Peoples' Freedom Alliance was voted to power in April.

``The two parties are still working out what the next round of peace negotiations should be about,'' she said.

The Tamil National Alliance said Kumaratunga had agreed to drop the demand of linking interim self-rule to a comprehensive settlement on lands in the north and east of the island nation that rebels have fought to make an independent state for minority ethnic Tamils.

The rebel proposal for self-rule has been a major stumbling block in restarting talks on ending the civil war that has killed about 65,000 people since 1983. Negotiations have been stalled since April last year.

Kumaratunga's government has insisted that any talks about Tamil autonomy take place simultaneously with discussions about a permanent end to the conflict.

``Over the past several weeks we have been in the process of resolving issues about the substance of the agenda for peace negotiations,'' Kumaratunga said.

In 2002, Norway brokered a truce. However, 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: Sat Jun 12 15:14:24 EDT 2004

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Sri Lankan president ready to resume peace on rebel demand, XINHUA
Associated Press, Fri June 11, 2004 14:38 EDT . - - COLOMBO, June 11 (Xinhua) -- Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga has agreed to start the stalled peace negotiations with the Tamil Tiger rebels on their blueprint for interim self rule, the state radio announced on Friday. The Sri Lanka - Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC), however, said that Kumaratunga had told a delegation of the rebel proxy political party that there are some aspects in the self rule proposal that she could not agree to. The legislators of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) met Kumaratunga late on Thursday night, their first meeting since Kumaratunga's United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) came to power after the April 2 parliamentary elections.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebels in October last year presented to the previous government of former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe a proposal for the setting up of an Interim Self-Governing Authority (ISGA) for the war-torn north and east regions. However, the Sinhalese majority in the south saw the proposals as a stepping stone for a separate Tamil state.

Rajavayothi Sampanthan, the leader of the TNA group said that President Kumaratunga had agreed to restart peace talks based on the ISGA which was the main demand by the LTTE to resume negotiations, stalled since April last year. Sampanthan said the president had shown flexibility in agreeing to take up the ISGA but she wanted core issues of the long drawn out ethnic conflict taken up as the talks progressed. Kumaratunga in May initiated to kick start the peace process but her attempts were bogged down due to differences of opinion on the ISGA proposals and the need to discuss core issues. The government had earlier expected that peace talks could be resumed in August.

Copyright 2004 XINHUA all rights reserved as distributed by WorldSources, Inc.
Published: Sat Jun 12 09:20:57 EDT 2004 Back to the top

Related News Stories
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
Sri Lankan peace talks likely to resume in August after president, rebels agree on conditions  - Associated Press

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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

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... 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

10 million children exploited in domestic labor, says ILO report, XINHUA
Associated Press, Fri June 11, 2004 12:45 EDT . - - It cites numerous country estimates, including studies showing that more than 2 million children are found in domestic labor in South Africa, 559,000 in Brazil, 250,000 in Haiti, 200,000 in Kenya, 264,000 in Pakistan and 100,000 in Sri Lanka - ... Back to the top

Warne set to miss Sri Lanka series, June 11, 2004. Shane Warne faces a month on the sidelines and the possibility of missing the upcoming series against Sri Lanka after breaking his hand... Back to the top

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