The Lanka Academic

 
MARCH 5, 2006 EST, USA
 
QUAERE VERUM
 
VOL. 6, NO. 333

JAYANTHA DHANAPALA

Candidate for UN Secretary General from Sri Lanka.
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Sri Lankan political parties to probe pact signed with rebels
xinhuanet.com, March 5. COLOMBO, March 5 (Xinhuanet) -- Leaders of Sri Lanka's political parties will probe the deal signed by Tamil Tiger rebels and the government last month in Geneva, party sources said Sunday.

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse has summoned an all-party forum for Monday to discuss the outcome of last month's talks in Geneva between his negotiators and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebels.

Nishantha Sri Warnasuriya, a spokesman for the nationalist all Buddhist monk party, the JHU (the Heritage Party), said here Sunday that Monday's forum would be used by them to quiz extensively the government's reported deal with the LTTE rebels.

In Geneva the Tigers vowed to eschew violence against the security forces in the Northern and Eastern provinces while the government assured that no armed groups or persons other than the members of the government troops will carry arms or conduct armed operations.

However, the joint statement released after the talks had angered Rajapakse's electoral allies such as the JHU and the leftist JVP, or the People's Liberation Front.

Both parties have claimed that the deal with the Tigers was not in accordance with the respective electoral deals they had entered with the president in the run-up to last year's presidential election.

The two hardline parties wanted the truce agreement amended in Geneva but the outcome suggests that the Norwegian-backed truce agreement was never amended at the Geneva talks.

On the other hand the main opposition United National Party (UNP) said they had already written to the president demanding to know what clauses had been amended in Geneva if the government was claiming that truce pact had been amended.

The UNP sources said the party would question Rajapakse on the issue at Monday's all-party forum.

The JVP sources said that the party leader Somawansa Amerasinghe would use the forum to air the party's concerns on the Geneva pact.

The presidential secretariat sources said that all political parties are to be apprised by the president on the matters to be taken up between the rebels and the government at the next round of talks to be held in Geneva in late April.

The truce talks in Geneva last month came after a three-year deadlock between the government and the LTTE.

Norway has been facilitating direct talks in a bid to help Sri Lanka end its long standing separatist armed conflict that had claimed over 64,000 lives since the mid 1980s.

More...

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Published: Sun Mar 5 13:01:52 EST 2006


President prepares for visit to Pakistan
Shimali Senanayake in Colombo, March 5th, 2006, SLT 6 a.m.. President Mahinda Rajapakse will set off on an official visit to Pakistan at the end of this month, officials said.

"Pakistan has always had close relations with Sri Lanka and this good-will visit will strengthen our ties," said Zahoor Barlas, spokesman for the Pakisatan high commission in Colombo.

The visit _ starting March 31 _ will be the first to Pakistan since Rajapakse was elected to office, and his second official tour overseas.

Sri Lanka is expected to sign several agreements with Pakistan during the visit, including pacts connected to tourism, culture and railways, Barlas said.

He declined to comment if defense-related issues were going to be discussed, but assured Pakistan's unreserved support.

"Whatever assistance in whatever field Sri Lanka wants from Pakistan, we as a friend will provide," Barlas said.

However, presidential officials said military matters will be taken up during meetings between Rajapakse and his Pakistan counterpart Pervez Musharaff. Musharraf supplied much-needed weapons to the Sri Lankan government in May 2000, when the LTTE were about to recapture their former capital of Jaffna. The new weapons, mainly multi-barrel rocket launchers, from Pakistan helped the Sri Lankan army beat back the Tigers and turn the tide against the LTTE.

During Mushraff's 2002 visit to Sri Lanka, the two countries also signed a five-year free trade agreement that became operational in June 2005. Since then, in the second half of last year trade between Sri Lanka and Pakistan has almost doubled. The two countries earlier maintained a US$130 million annual trade of tea, garments, electronics, fruits, engineering goods and agricultural products.

President Rajapakse has particularly close relations with Pakistan's High Commissioner to Colombo Bashir Wali Mohmand, who officials say is personally engaged in ensuring the success of Rajapakse's visit with attention to detail.

Rajapakse is expected to be housed in a hotel that the Saudi Arabia king stayed during his visit, a higher profile venue than where other Sri Lankan state leaders, including former President Chandrika Kumaratunga stayed during her official visit in Pakistan.

Barlas said Sri Lanka is still to finalize the composition of the president's team and bilateral meetings will be set up accordingly.

Rajapakse is scheduled to will visit a province _ either Punjab or Lahore _ and also one of Pakistan's largest mosque's before concluding his visit.

Sri Lanka traditionally enjoys close ties with India, its giant neighbor and Pakistan's archrival, but Colombo has also successfully established good relations with the Musharraf regime in Islamabad.

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Published: Sat Mar 4 20:40:33 EST 2006 Back to the top


Three ways to fight terrorism - Editorial
national post, March 5. The result of the Liberals' cowardice is that the Tigers have been permitted to conduct door-to-door shakedowns of the Tamil community for years. This past weekend, the Toronto Star published a chilling interview with a Tamil Canadian who received regular visits from a Tiger bagman. The message many such voluntary "donors" receive is clear: Give money, or your family in Sri Lanka will pay the price.

As a former Canadian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, Mr. Collacott knows exactly how thoroughly the Tigers have scarred that country. To read Canada's Inadequate Response to Terrorism is to appreciate what a disgrace it is that the ongoing terrorist war in that country is being fought with money donated legally by Canadian citizens. Stockwell Day, Canada's new Minister of Public Safety, has pledged to outlaw the Tigers. We urge him to do so immediately. More...

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Published: Sun Mar 5 16:42:51 EST 2006 Back to the top


Sri Lankan govt battles to keep allies onboard
dailytimes.com.pk, March 06,. COLOMBO: Right-wing allies of Sri Lanka’s president have renewed moves to drop support for his shaky minority in parliament over his failure to take a harder line with Tamil rebels, officials said on Sunday... Back to the top

Lankan diplomat hopes to fill top UN position
gulf-times.com, march 4. AFTER a gap of 30 years, it is now Asia’s turn to fill the post of the next secretary-general of UN, said Jayatha Dhanapala of Sri Lanka, who is one of the candidates... Back to the top

Indian potatoes to flood Lanka, Dubai markets
hindustantimes.com, March 05, 2006 - 18:40 EDT. ‘KUFRI BAHAR’ a variety of potato grown by the farmers in Kanpur, Agra and Meerut will flood the vegetable markets in Sri Lanka and Dubai soon... Back to the top

Killing of Tamil rebels blow to Sri Lanka 's cease-fire, truce monitors say
Associated Press, Sun March 5, 2006 06:58 EST . - - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) An ambush on a Tamil Tiger rebel checkpoint that killed two rebels in eastern Sri Lanka - has dealt a major blow to a four-year-old cease-fire, European monitors said Sunday... Back to the top

Some envoys face sacking,Shooting at poll campaign,Competition in Colombo schools,Rice farmers happy this year
thepeninsulaqatar.com, 3/5/2006 . President Mahinda Rajapaksa is to sack some Sri Lankan envoys serving overseas after receiving complaints against them, the Daily Mirror reported... Back to the top

Tamil Tiger rebel killed in ambush, Sri Lankan military denies involvement
Associated Press, Sat March 4, 2006 00:04 EST . DILIP GANGULY - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) An armed group ambushed a Tamil Tiger rebel checkpoint in eastern Sri Lanka - on Saturday, killing two guerrillas before retreating toward a government base in a ``serious'' violation of the country's cease-fire, the rebels said... Back to the top

Sri Lanka going back to its original time on April 14, 2006
Munza Mushtaq in Colombo, March 4, 2006, 1.31 a.m.. Sri Lanka will revert back to its original time on April 14th, 2006... Back to the top

OBSTACLES TO PEACE IN SRI LANKA - A Feature
Rohini Hensman, March 4. For some people, the February 2006 peace talks between the government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) and Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in Geneva came literally as a last-minute reprieve from a death sentence; in fact, the reprieve came too late for victims of the undeclared war over the previous two months... Back to the top

Tigers say Sri Lanka confused after talks
newkerala.com, March 04, 2006, - 12:40 EDT. Colombo: Tamil Tiger rebels in Sri Lanka today said they were watching how the government would deliver on promises made during the recent talks between the two sides in Switzerland while noting that the authorities here appeared to be "confused... Back to the top

STRONG RESOLVE' SHOWN DURING TALKS ON ANTI-TERRORISM PACT: CHAIRMAN
Harold Doan and Associates Ltd., march 3. United Nations Member States showed "strong resolve" during a just-concluded weeklong session on drafting a comprehensive Convention on Terrorism, the Chairman of the committee convening the meetings said today, as he urged countries to continue with their efforts to reach consensus... Back to the top

Sri Lanka to put back clocks by half an hour
hindu.com, March 04, 2006, - 12:40 EDT. Colombo, March. 4 (PTI): Sri Lanka will put back its clocks by half an hour and revert to the practice of having the same standard time as India after its 10-year experiment to save daytime failed. President Mahinda Rajapakse ordered that Sri Lanka revert to its original standard time, five and a half hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), which the country maintained till May 1996... Back to the top

Two Sri Lankans who took gold chain from woman in tsunami waves to be tried for murder
Associated Press, Sat March 4, 2006 03:25 EST . DILIP GANGULY - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Two men who snatched a gold chain from a woman struggling in the waves of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami will be tried for murder, Sri Lanka - 's solicitor general said Saturday... Back to the top

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