The Lanka Academic

VOL. 6, NO. 306


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Headline Summary
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Sri Lanka government, Tamil Tiger rebel talks set for Feb. 22-23
Shimali Senanayake in Colombo, February 6th, 2006 9:15 pm. The Sri Lankan government and Tamil Tiger rebels have agreed to resume face-to-face talks on Feb. 22-23 in Geneva, Switzerland, officials said on Monday.

The talks _ on strengthening a tenuous four-year-old cease-fire _ will be the first meeting between the two sides in almost three years.

The agreement on the dates came after discussions between Norway's top peace envoy Erik Solheim and Tiger ideologue Anton Balasingham in London.

Solheim, Norway's international development minister flew from the Norwegian capital Oslo, earlier Monday for the meeting, with the primary aim of clinching a deal on the dates for talks.

The government had earlier proposed Feb. 15-16 for the meeting. The dates proposed by the Tigers was conveyed to President Mahinda Rajapakse who had agreed, officials involved in the peace process said on condition of anonymity.

Last month, Solheim made a breakthrough in getting the government and the Tigers to agree to talks amid a wave of violence that had ignited war fears.

However, the proposed talks were thrown into disarray last week over the alleged abduction of 10 aid workers attached to a pro-rebel charity.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam or LTTE, began fighting in 1983 to carve out an independent homeland for the island's 3.2 million Tamil minority, who claim discrimination by the majority Sinhalese. The fighting killed nearly 65,000 before Norway brokered a cease-fire in February 2002. But subsequent peace talks collapsed in April 2003 amid rebel demands for wide autonomy in the Tamil-dominated north and east.

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Published: Mon Feb 6 10:52:50 EST 2006

Related News Stories
Peace talks between Sri Lanka government, rebels set for Feb. 22 in Geneva  - Associated Press

Karuna warns of renouncing Ceasefire with Prabhakaran's Vanni faction
Munza Mushtaq in Colombo, February 6, 2006, 7.26 p.m.. The TamilEela Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal (TMVP) which is the political body of the Karuna faction today urged the international community to be vigilant with the LTTE and not to fall prey to the Organization's scams.

TMVP Spokesman Thooyavan issuing a statement from his office in Batticaloa alleged that the LTTE is engaged in a campaign of denigrating the TMVP by linking it with the Sri Lankan Security Forces. "This is a pre-planned campaign to stall the peace talks," he noted.

He also pointed out that his party's leadership has declared unilateral ceasefire with the Vanni paramilitary group led by Prabakaran. But warned that during this period if the Vanni Paramilitary groups attacked their members or supporters, they would also have no choice but to retaliate and renounce their ceasefire declaration.

"In case we are forced to go back to war we pledge that we will launch a search and hunt operation against the Vanni paramilitaries not only in the east but also in the whole island," Thooyavan warned.

"After failing in its latest attempt to start its Eelam War IV the LTTE is trying to manufacture excuses to scuttle the talks. Various allegations leveled against the TMVP in its websites and the Tamil media are all designed to divert attention away from its past record of human rights violations and, more importantly, abduction of children to beef up its dwindling cadres.

"The latest allegation comes from the stage managed press conference in which 15-year-old Arulraj Senthilnathan of Punnaichcholai was produced before a group of LTTE cadres posing as journalists.

"Our information reveals that the so - called press conference was never held. Instead the boy had talked to four members of Vanni paramilitary's intelligence group masquerading as press reporters. These men had offered the boy a banana, Vadai and some tea and made him say what they wanted to hear.

We wish declare that we had never known this boy. He was never with us. Nor do we need abducted young boys to fight our battle against Prabakaran and his gang of criminals," the TMVP spokesman said in his statement.

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Published: Mon Feb 6 08:28:23 EST 2006 Back to the top

Suspected Tamil Tigers abduct a Tamil civilian in restive eastern Sri Lanka
BHARATHA MALLAWARACHI, Associated Press, Mon February 6, 2006 02:59 EST . Suspected Tamil Tiger rebels abducted an ethnic minority Tamil civilian from his home in Sri Lanka's restive east, the Defense Ministry said Monday, the latest in a spate of disappearances across the country.

The 20-year-old man disappeared from his home in Batticaloa late Sunday, said an officer at the Defense Ministry's media unit, who cannot be named under the ministry's policies. He accused the rebels of carrying out the abduction.

The Tamil Tiger rebels have been blamed for a series of violence and abductions of members of rival groups in Sri Lanka's northeast in recent weeks. The rebels, who want to carve out a separate homeland for minority Tamils, in turn, have pointed the finger at a breakaway rebel faction and other anti-rebel groups for the alleged abduction of 10 Tamil relief workers last week. The groups deny any involvement in that abduction.

Three of those relief workers who disappeared have since returned home, while the fate of the others is not known.

Local police Inspector D. Rathnayake said a team of officers had been sent to investigate the abduction in Batticaloa. A motive behind the disappearance was not immediately know, and the rebels made no mention of it on their Web sites.

A Norway brokered cease-fire between the rebels and the government has come under heavy strain since December amid rising violence that has left 150 people dead.

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Published: Mon Feb 6 03:48:14 EST 2006 Back to the top

COLOMBO DIARY In the past four years, the international donor community has pledged billions of dollars to Sri Lanka with the aim of promoting peace and economic reform. And a lot of it has already gone into the country's kitty. Yet, aid has not met its objectives. The necessary preconditions of peace still do not exist and Sri Lanka continues to be perched precariously on the edge of war. Why donors failed to bring peace to Sri Lanka, Monday, February 6, 2006|18:03 IST . COLOMBO DIARY In the past four years, the international donor community has pledged billions of dollars to Sri Lanka with the aim of promoting peace and economic reform... Back to the top

Demand for rights on agenda of Sri Lanka talks, 06 February 2006. COLOMBO, Feb 5, 2006 (AFP) - Amnesty International Sunday asked Sri Lanka's warring parties to thrash out human rights issues during crucial talks this month to stem a wave of killings, abductions, and child recruitment... Back to the top

Peace talks regarding Sri Lanka 's rebels take place in London
Associated Press, Mon February 6, 2006 09:03 EST . LONDON (AP) _ A Norwegian peace envoy and the chief negotiator for Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels met privately in London on Monday, an official said... Back to the top

East S.Lanka tense, Norway tries to save peace bid, Mon 6th Feb 09:00GMT. Protesters burned barricades at Tamil Tiger checkpoints in east Sri Lanka on Monday and tsunami aid workers stayed inside as peace broker Norway tried again to patch up a shaky peace process and arrange crunch talks... Back to the top

Security fears hurting Sri Lanka growth - World Bank, Feb 6, 2006. COLOMBO (Reuters) - Security fears in Sri Lanka are slowing investment which in turn will mean the island economy will grow around 4-6 percent in 2006 rather than the 8 percent the government is targeting, the World Bank said on Monday... Back to the top

US says it will create ``surprises'' in Under 19 cricket World Cup
Associated Press, Mon February 6, 2006 00:27 EST . KRISHAN FRANCIS - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) The United States, still a novice in world cricket, says it is capable of creating ``surprises'' even against formidable opponents when it begins its Under 19 World Cup campaign on Monday... Back to the top

LTTE band of ‘murderous cutthroats’-Opinion, Feb 6. Prof P Ramasamy appears to suggest that “indiscriminate killings will be brought to end” if the international community accepts that the LTTE should are allowed to rule over the north and east of Sri Lanka... Back to the top

LTTE keen on talks to fix Sri Lankan Govt, Mon 6th Feb 09:00GMT. Contrary to the general impression that the LTTE is trying to find excuses to avoid going for talks with the Sri Lankan government, the rebel outfit is actually quite keen on having the talks, says a Tamil MP who met the LTTE's political leadership in Kilinochchi on Saturday... Back to the top

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