The Lanka Academic

APRIL 1, 2006 EST, USA
VOL. 6, NO. 360


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Headline Summary
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Ruling coalition's victory in local Sri Lankan polls to help Tamil Tiger peace process
Associated Press, Sat April 1, 2006 01:00 EST . DILIP GANGULY - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapake has a fresh mandate to continue peace talks with Tamil Tiger rebels after his ruling coalition's overwhelming victory in local elections, state-run media said Saturday.

Rajapakse's United Peoples' Freedom Alliance won majorities in 222 out of 264 local councils where results were declared, the Government Information Department said Saturday. The main opposition United National Party which previously controlled most councils won 32 seats, and minor parties won the other 10 seats.

Remaining results for two councils were expected later Saturday, the department said. Elections in the north and east where the Tigers operate have been postponed until Sept. 30 due to security concerns.

The Tamil Tigers began fighting in 1983 to create a separate state for ethnic minority Tamils, accusing the majority Sinhalese of discrimination. More than 65,000 people were killed before a 2002 cease-fire, now under threat due to rising violence.

Rajapakse says he wants to go ahead with the talks and come to a settlement. Others oppose concessions to the rebels.

``No doubt, this augers well for the future and the peace process,'' the state-run Daily News said in an editorial Saturday.

``For, if we are to make some headway in resolving the conflict, the country's communities need to accept each other as people of one country, always able and willing to give peaceful coexistence a try.''

The editorial said the election victory should be seen as giving the government ``a fresh mandate by the people to work toward a just and honorable peace.''

``Sri Lankans have clearly endorsed his policies, specially his handling of the peace process,'' said Jehan Perera of the National Peace Council, an independent think tank.

Controlling the councils which deal with the day-to-day affairs of towns and clusters of villages will provide Rajapakse with a power base for future parliamentary and presidential elections.

Rajapakse heads a minority government in the federal Parliament. The present Parliament began in April 2004 for a term of up to six years, but the president can order new elections to try to secure a majority.

Recent violence has threatened the government-rebel truce brokered by Norway in February 2002. More than 166 people, including 87 government security personnel, have been killed since December in violence blamed mostly on the rebels.

The rebels and the government are scheduled to meet in Switzerland April 19-20 for next round of peace talks. Discuss this story
Published: Sat Apr 1 13:29:09 EST 2006

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Sri Lankan military accuses rebels of provocation, April 01, 2006. Sri Lankan troops have accused the Tamil Tigers of carrying out a series of attacks to provoke the troops in violation of the ongoing truce.

Brigadier Prasad Samarasinghe, the defense ministry spokesman, said Saturday that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebels had fired at the Navy as many as five times during the last 10 days.

"These are totally unprovoked attacks and clear violations of the cease-fire agreement," Samarasinghe said.

He said all attacks directed at the Navy were in the eastern district of Trincomalee and at least two attacks on Naval craft had taken place even when the members of the international truce monitors, the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM), were on board.

The government and the LTTE are to meet in Geneva in three weeks to discuss the Norwegian backed cease-fire which had largely held since February 2002 despite sporadic acts of violence.

Most violations of the truce have been blamed on the Tigers and the rebels in turn accuse the government for its failure to fully implement the provisions of the agreement.

The first round of talks late February in Geneva ended in an agreement from both sides to stick to the truce and this month's talks are aimed at reviewing the progress of the agreement.

Analysts say both sides are expected to level more accusations at each other at the next round and are creating the ground for such an eventuality.

The SLMM will submit its report on the truce violations since the first round in Geneva aimed at getting the two sides to agree to honor and uphold spirit of the agreement, the SLMM sources said. More... Discuss this story
Published: Sat Apr 1 13:31:32 EST 2006 Back to the top

Sri Lanka, Pakistan agree to fight terrorism, intensify trade, April 01, 2006. ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Sri Lanka agreed Saturday to intensify cooperation in defence, countering terrorism, science and technology and trade after talks between their leaders, according to a joint statement issued here. Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse, who arrived here Friday on a three-day visit, held talks with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz on a wide range of issues, joint statement said. More...
Published: Sat Apr 1 16:50:59 EST 2006 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Pakistan, Sri Lanka say they will work closely to promote peace, stability in region  - Associated Press

Sri Lankan president's governing coalition secures stunning victory in local polls
Associated Press, Fri March 31, 2006 08:13 EST . DILIP GANGULY - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Sri Lanka - 's ruling coalition won an overwhelming victory in local elections, according to results released by the government a win seen as an endorsement of the president's negotiations with Tamil Tiger rebels... Back to the top

Despite peace talks, Sri Lanka drifts towards civil war, Mar. 31. Last Saturday the naval vessel Dvora, a fast attack craft, was sunk during a confrontation with a trawler off the north west coast... Back to the top

Sri Lanka : Steps mooted to expand Sri Lankan Garment industry, April 1, 2006. The 13th Annual General Meeting of Sri Lanka Garment Buying offices Association (SLGBOA) was held recently... Back to the top

Pakistan, Lanka Chambers to set up Joint Business Council, April 1. Pakistan and Sri Lankan chambers of commerce and industries on Saturday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to set up a Joint Business Council between the Chambers of Commerce and Industries of both the countries... Back to the top

Top Swedish army officer takes over command to oversee Sri Lanka 's cease-fire with Tamil rebels
Associated Press, Fri March 31, 2006 23:03 EST . COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) _ A retired Swedish general on Saturday took over command of monitoring Sri Lanka's cease-fire with Tamil Tiger rebels, which has come under increasing strain amid spiraling violence... Back to the top

Lanka seeks Pak military help
yahoo/HT, April 1. SRI LANKAN President Mahinda Rajapaksa's visit to Pakistan, beginning on Friday, has an important message for India, political observers here say... Back to the top

Sri Lankan president holds talks with Pakistan leader to discuss trade, defense ties
Associated Press, March 31, 2006 11:57 EST . MUNIR AHMAD - Associated Press Writer - ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) Sri Lanka - 's President Mahinda Rajapakse met with his Pakistani counterpart Friday for talks on cementing better ties in defense, trade and other areas, officials said... Back to the top

Sri Lanka plans for Muslim regiment cause worry
IANS/yahoo, April 1. New Delhi, April 1 (IANS) Sri Lanka's plan to recruit Muslims into a special regiment in its overwhelmingly Sinhalese army has earned bouquets and brickbats, with critics warning that it can further fuel ethnic tensions... Back to the top

Jayasuriya to play his final cricket test
Associated Press, March 31, 2006 13:06 EST . - - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Sanath Jayasuriya will play his last cricket test match when he takes the field against Pakistan next week, after a glittering career spanning 15 years... Back to the top

New SLMM head assumes duties tomorrow
Munza Mushtaq in Colombo, March 31, 2006, 11.39 p.m.. Major General Ulf Henricsson, will assume his command as Head of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) tomorrow (April 1, 2006), the Mission announced today... Back to the top

Sri Lankan president arrives in Pakistan to discuss trade, defense ties
Associated Press, Fri March 31, 2006 03:02 EST . MUNIR AHMAD - Associated Press Writer - ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) Sri Lanka - 's President Mahinda Rajapakse arrived Friday for a three-day official visit to Pakistan, hoping to cement better trade and defense ties, officials said... Back to the top

Sri Lanka s economy expands by 5.9 % in 2005, March 31. Sri Lanka's economy expanded by 5.9 percent in 2005, over 5.4 percent a year earlier, in the backdrop of high international oil prices and stiff competition for key exports like garments, the Central Bank said Friday... Back to the top

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