The Lanka Academic

VOL. 6, NO. 294


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Headline Summary
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Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels agree to peace talks in Switzerland
Shimali Senanayake in Colombo, January 25th, 2006, 2: 20 GMT. Tamil Tiger rebels on Wednesday agreed to hold face-to-face talks with the Sri Lanka government in Switzerland, breaking an almost three year deadlock, officials said.

The agreement was reached after talks between Norway's top peace envoy Erik Solheim and Tiger supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran, in the northern rebel-capital of Kilinochchi, officials involved in the talks said.

Solheim is scheduled to meet Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapakse on his return to Colombo.

The government will agree to the destination, senior presidential sources s aid. Talks are likely to start next month, they said.

Colombo had indicated to Solheim that it was willing to move away from its earlier insistence of an Asian destination and hold negotiations in any destination other than the Norwegian capital Oslo. The 25 European Union nations in which the rebels have been slapped with travel restrictions was also ruled out. The Tigers had earlier continued to insist that talks must be held nowhere else other than Oslo.

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Published: Wed Jan 25 08:39:53 EST 2006

Related News Stories
Tamil Tiger rebels, Sri Lankan president agree to resume peace talks in Switzerland  - Associated Press
Sri Lankan president agrees to hold peace talks with rebels in Switzerland.  - Associated Press
Norway says S.Lanka, rebels agree to Swiss talks  -

Annan welcomes renewed peace talks between Sri Lanka , Tamil Tigers+
Associated Press, Wed January 25, 2006 16:40 EST . NEW YORK, Jan. 25 (Kyodo) _ U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan applauded Wednesday the announcement that the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, also known as the Tamil Tigers, were to renew peace negotiations in mid-February in Geneva.

Talks between the two have stalled since April 2003.

In a released statement, Annan also welcomed the renewed efforts by the Norwegian government to facilitate the resumption of talks.

''To advance the peace process, it will be important to put an end to the escalating violence in the North and East and to strictly uphold the ceasefire. The people of Sri Lanka deserve a new hope that peace could be in reach,'' the secretary general said in the statement.

Although both sides had expressed a willingness to revive negotiations, there had been a deadlock on the site.

The breakthrough was announced following talks in rebel-held Kilinochchi between Norwegian International Development Minister Erik Solheim and LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran.

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Published: Wed Jan 25 20:40:41 EST 2006 Back to the top

Norwegian envoy holding crucial talks with guerrilla leader to save Sri Lanka cease-fire
Associated Press, Wed January 25, 2006 02:05 EST . KRISHAN FRANCIS - Associated Press Writer - KILINOCHCHI, Sri Lanka - (AP) Norwegian envoy Eric Solheim arrived in northern Sri Lanka - for crucial talks with the reclusive leader of the Tamil Tiger rebels Wednesday, amid fears the island could return to civil war after four years of relative calm.

Solheim was meeting Tiger leader Velupillai Prabhakaran in the rebel-held city of Kilinochchi and was expected to deliver a message from President Mahinda Rajapakse. The meeting could help decide whether Sri Lanka - can hold onto the 2002 cease-fire despite increasing violence.

In the latest of a series of attacks blamed on the rebels, a police officer was wounded when a grenade was thrown at a security bunker in the northern town of Vavuniya early Wednesday, the Media Unit of the Defense Ministry said.

Police on Wednesday were also searching for those responsible for a series of explosions in the Sri Lankan capital that caused widespread panic but no known casualties, Deputy Inspector General of Police P. Jayasundara said.

Separately, unidentified gunmen shot and killed two people, believed to be rebel supporters, in the Tamil city of Jaffna, about 40 kilometers (25 mile) south of Kilinochchi on Wednesday, a police officer said.

About 81 government security personnel have been killed in attacks by suspected Tamil Tigers since Dec. 4. The rebels deny involvement. Another 40 civilians have been killed by unidentified assailants, with the government and the rebels blaming each other for the killings.

Solheim played a key role in arranging the cease-fire, halting nearly two decades of civil war that killed 65,000 people from both sides. Subsequent peace talks broke down in April 2003 when the Tigers withdrew demanding more autonomy for the Tamil-majority north and east.

Both the government and the Tigers have said that they are willing to resume talks aimed at proper implementation of the cease-fire to end the violence.

However, disagreement over the venue and the agenda have delayed the resumption of talks. The Tigers want the talks to be in Oslo, Norway, but the allies in Rajapakse's government are against it. But Rajapakse told Solheim that he would not be rigid on the venue.

The rebels want the government to disarm armed groups opposed to the rebels first and then meet. The government, in turn, says the Tigers should stop attacking government forces first.

The rebels have fought the government since 1983 to create a separate state for ethnic minority Tamils accusing majority Sinhalese of discrimination.

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Published: Wed Jan 25 04:18:39 EST 2006 Back to the top

Related News Stories
Envoy heads to meet Sri Lanka's Tigers to save truce  - Reuters

INTERVIEW-S.Lanka Tigers pledge not to attack troops, January 25, 2006 - 07:45 EDT. KILINOCHCHI, Sri Lanka, Jan 25 (Reuters) - Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels will not attack government forces provided the military ceases violence against Tamil civilians, the rebels said on Wednesday as they agreed to Swiss peace talks... Back to the top

UNP dissidents slam party
The Peninsula, 1/25/2006 3:18:4. Mahinda Wijesekara, a parliamentarian from the dissident group of the main opposition United National Party (UNP), on Monday slammed moves by his party to stop several MPs from crossing over to the government... Back to the top

Two UNP parliamentarians cross over, January 25. Two senior opposition United National Party (UNP) parliamentarians have crossed over to the SL Government... Back to the top

Sri Lankan Government will not start war: JVP MP, January 25, 2006 - 07:45 EDT. CHENNAI: The Sri Lankan Government is determined not to get pushed into a war by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam despite grave provocations, said a Sri Lankan parliamentarian from the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP)... Back to the top

Maldives joins U.S. network to detect drugs and arms traffickers
Associated Press, Wed January 25, 2006 05:59 EST . - - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) The United States signed an agreement with Maldives on Wednesday to boost its ability to combat illegal drug and arms trafficking by having access to a state-of-the-art communications system... Back to the top

World's Patience with Tamil Tigers Ebbs Analysis by Marwaan Macan-Markar
IPS, January 25. COLOMBO, Jan 25 (IPS) - A reluctance to eschew violence and a failure to grasp prevailing political currents have earned Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels a place in the world's doghouse, rather than be accorded international legitimacy... Back to the top

Police search for culprits after explosions hit Sri Lankan capital
Associated Press, Wed January 25, 2006 00:53 EST . - - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Police searched Wednesday for perpetrators responsible for a series of explosions in the Sri Lankan capital that caused widespread panic but no known casualties, a senior officer said... Back to the top

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