The Lanka Academic

VOL. 6, NO. 297


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Headline Summary
F R E E      C L A S S I F I E D S
T  O  P      H  E  A  D  L  I  N  E
Sri Lanka seeks international expertise to prop up government peace team
Shimali Senanayake in Colombo, January 29th, 2006, 8:00 am SLT. The government is planning to infuse international expertise to boost its negotiating team, ahead of face-to-face talks with the Tamil Tiger rebels next month, officials said. The inclusion will strengthen the government delegation to be led by a government minister, officials involved in the peace process said. A strong military contingent, supported by legal experts are set to be apart of the delegation to Geneva, they said, adding that this was necessary because the talks were essentially on the implementation of the cease-fire and not on a political solution.

Top peace envoy Erik Solheim also reiterated that the Geneva talks were different to the six-rounds of peace talks held earlier. The talks _ aimed at fortifying the February 2002 truce _ are expected to be held for a two-day duration in the third week of next month, the officials said.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam or LTTE, have already finalized their delegation to be led by the Tigers ideologue Anton Balasingham.

Balasingham, left the island Saturday after participating in crucial talks between the LTTE leader and Norwegian peace brokers three days earlier, that resulted in a breakthrough to revive negotiations between the government and the rebels.

War fears had spiraled in Sri Lanka following a wave of killings that had killed more than 100 people, mostly security forces. Thursday's breakthrough came after a nearly three-year deadlock between the parties.

The rebels had been fighting since 1983 for a separate state claiming discrimination of minority Tamils by the 14 million Sinhalese majority. Nearly 65,000 people were killed before the Feb. 22, 2002 Norwegian-brokered cease-fire. Subsequent peace talks broke down a year later amid rebels demands for wide autonomy.

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Published: Sat Jan 28 23:45:48 EST 2006

Sri Lankan President says talks with rebels meant to end violence
Xinhua, january 29. Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse said Saturday that the main objective of going into talks with the Tamil Tiger rebels next month is to put an end to violence and thereby to prevent people from getting killed.

Addressing the launch of his government's youth assistance program at Weeraketiya, 227 km south of capital Colombo, the President said "the foremost task is to protect people's right to live, freedom to live. That was the main idea in going to Geneva."

He was referring to the decision by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebels and the government to hold face-to-face talks in Geneva next month with a view to strengthening the ongoing fragile internationally backed truce.

Rajapakse said that all Sri Lankans must rally around him in the task of endeavoring to achieve peace, adding that he was keen to put an end to all killings in the country.

Over 200 lives have been lost since he assumed Sri Lanka's presidency in mid November 2005. The Tamil Tiger rebels have stepped up attacks against the government troops, killing nearly 100 soldiers. The rebel leader Velupillai Prabakaran warned at the end of November that his force would intensify its struggle for autonomy for the minority Tamils unless Rajapakse came up with a credible plan for power sharing.

The killings prompted the Norwegian peace facilitators to urge both sides for restraint and get back to the negotiating table.

Last Wednesday, Norwegian Minister for International Development Erik Solheim succeeded in ending the deadlock with his meeting with the rebel leader Prabakaran.

The two sides will meet in Geneva in mid-February for the first direct talks since March 2003. The two sides agreed to end violence forthwith in order to create a conducive atmosphere for talks. More...

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Published: Sat Jan 28 19:35:01 EST 2006 Back to the top

Sri Lanka main opposition to support gov't peace talks with rebels on condition
Xinhua, january 29. The Sri Lankan main opposition United National Party (UNP) while welcoming government moves to hold talks with Tamil Tiger rebels in Geneva said they would however link three demands, Daily News reported Saturday.

The demand includes the release of one time Minister and UNP heavyweight S.B. Dissanayake as pre-conditions to support any peace efforts.

"We will do everything possible to help the government to usher in peace. We would by no means sabotage any effort of the government to bring peace," Party Deputy General Secretary Tissa Attanayake said.

"But if the government wants our help they should first stop provoking us," he said, urging the government to stop baiting opposition MPs to government ranks by offering them portfolios and other perks and privileges.

"We also want the government to base the next local government election on the 2005 voters' list instead of 2004, which we consider erroneous," he added.

He said the party always stood for a negotiated settlement and stressed the UNP would support the government, provided they heed what he called their just demands. More...

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Published: Sat Jan 28 19:33:30 EST 2006 Back to the top

Influx of refugees unfortunate: envoy
Hindu, january 29. CHENNAI: It is unfortunate that there is an influx of refugees from Sri Lanka to Tamil Nadu at a time when efforts to repatriate or facilitate their return are being made by the Sri Lankan Deputy High Commission in Chennai, its chief diplomat, Sumit Nakandala, said... Back to the top

Sri Lanka monks' party opposed to Geneva as talks venue, january 29. Colombo: Sri Lanka's Buddhist monks party said Saturday it is opposed to Geneva being chosen as the venue for next month's talks between the Tamil Tigers and the government... Back to the top

No proof Sri Lanka Army backs Karuna, January 28, 2006|18:55 IST. Sri Lanka's peace monitors have no evidence that the country's army is supporting the breakaway Tamil Tigers group headed by Karuna, a senior official of the Nordic body says... Back to the top

Indian Air Force chief to visit Sri Lanka, January 28, 2006. The chief of the Indian Air Force (IAF) is set to visit Sri Lanka amid persisting concern over the island nation's ethnic conflict despite a breakthrough in the peace process... Back to the top

India hails Colombo-LTTE talks, January 27, 2006 - 17:15. NEW DELHI: India on Friday welcomed the decision by the Sri Lankan Government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to hold talks in Geneva in February, the External Affairs Ministry said... Back to the top

US identifies a new foe - close to India
IANS/NewKerala, January 27. By M.R. Narayan Swamy, New Delhi: After allowing the Afghan mujahideen to blossom into Taliban and Al Qaeda, the US is taking a hard look at Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger guerrillas, undoubtedly the world's most lethal insurgent group... Back to the top

Sri Lanka s Peace Prospects Look Dubious, 2006-01-27. Every war goes on too long. Sri Lanka's should never have started at all... Back to the top

Sri Lanka extends detention of five Indians allegedly caught with detonators
Associated Press, Sat January 28, 2006 07:21 EST . - - JAFFNA, Sri Lanka - (AP) A judge on Saturday extended the detention of five Indians seized by Sri Lanka - 's navy, allegedly with tens of thousands of detonators that authorities believe were intended for Tamil Tiger rebels... Back to the top

Lankan refugees flowing into India, January 28, 2006 18:09 IST. With 54 Sri Lankan Tamils arriving in Rameshwaram on Saturday, the number of refugees, who have come into the country since January 12, has risen to 289, official sources said... Back to the top

Captain says India was source of detonators destined for Sri Lankan rebel territory
Associated Press, Fri January 27, 2006 07:50 EST . DILIP GANGULY - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) India was the source of tens of thousands of detonators seized by a Sri Lankan navy vessel that were to be delivered to Tamil rebel-held territory, an Indian captain said Friday... Back to the top

Tension in Sri Lanka puts Indian fishermen in troubled waters
com, January 27, 2006 - 17:15. CHENNAI: The looming threat of another civil war in Sri Lanka has put the Ramanathapuram district of Tamil Nadu in a precarious situation... Back to the top

Tamil Tiger rebels accuse government-backed assailants of killing senior rebel officer
Associated Press, Fri January 27, 2006 01:05 EST . DILIP GANGULY - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Tamil Tiger rebels on Friday accused Sri Lanka - 's government of backing assailants who assassinated a senior rebel officer a day after the two sides agreed to restart peace talks, but the military denied involvement in the ambush... Back to the top

Sri Lanka 's future: hard realities face government, rebels in talks
Associated Press, Thu January 26, 2006 19:04 EST . DILIP GANGULY - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Long-awaited peace talks may be on track, but the Sri Lankan government and the Tamil Tiger rebels are bracing for hard realities that have kept the ethnically riven, war-scarred tropical island divided for years... Back to the top

Sri Lanka to upgrade broadband offering, Jan. 27 . COLOMBO, Sri Lanka, Jan. 27 (UPI) -- Sri Lanka Telecom is expanding its broadband capabilities in order to offer new virtual private network services aimed at the business community. Juniper Networks will be supplying multi-service routing platforms along with its E-series Broadband Services Routers for a raft of triple-play voice, data and video along with other new offerings planned by SLT... Back to the top

RIM, Dialog Telekom launch BlackBerry in Sri Lanka, Fri Jan 27, 2006 10:13 AM EST. TORONTO (Reuters) - Research In Motion Ltd. (RIM.TO: Quote) (RIMM.O: Quote) and Sri Lanka's largest mobile phone company Dialog Telekom Ltd. (DIAL... Back to the top

Swiss offer helped break deadlock in Sri Lanka, January 26. Switzerland had helped break the deadlock over the venue of the first round of talks between the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE by offering to host them in Geneva... Back to the top

FEATURE-War or peace, tension high on S.Lanka s death road, January 27, 2006 - 07:50. OMANTHAI, Sri Lanka, Jan 27 (Reuters) - A long disused and weed-covered railway line runs for miles alongside the potholed single-lane road leading into rebel-held territory in northern Sri Lanka... Back to the top

S.Lanka rebel-linked group says ceasing attacks, January 27, 2006 - 07:50. COLOMBO, Jan 27 (Reuters) - A Sri Lankan group linked to the Tamil Tiger rebels said on Friday it was ceasing military action but the government and the guerrillas accused each other of new attacks just after agreeing to meet for talks... Back to the top

Sri Lanka Telecom Rolls out MPLS-Based VPN Services Using Juniper ..., January 27, 2006 - 11:46. Sri Lanka Telecom has expanded its network to offer advanced MPLS-based VPN services to business consumers by implementing products from Juniper Networks... Back to the top

Lanka: Solheim coming to India, January 27, 2006 - 07:50. New Delhi, Jan 27: After eliciting a promise from the LTTE to hold talks with the Sri Lankan government, ending a three-year deadlock, Norwegian negotiator Eric Solheim is arriving here to confer with Indian leaders, including possibly Prime Minister Manmohan Singh... Back to the top

Japan, Britain applaud Sri Lanka peace breakthrough, January 27, 2006 - 07:50. Sri Lanka's key foreign backers welcomed on Friday an agreement by the Sri Lankan government and Tamil Tiger rebels to resume peace talks and urged them to work to halt violence... Back to the top

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