The Lanka Academic

APRIL 18, 2006 EST, USA
VOL. 7, NO. 12


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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
Truce Monitor Chief Blames Rebels For Sri Lanka Violence
Associated Press, April 18. COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) _ The chief European cease-fire monitor blamed the Tamil Tiger rebels on Tuesday for the recent spate of land mine blasts that have killed dozens in Sri Lanka and imperiled a four-year-old, Norwegian-brokered truce.

In an interview with The Associated Press, retired Swedish general, Ulf Henricsson, said while he couldn't be completely certain the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam were responsible for all of the mine attacks, it was likely they were to blame for most.

``If I look into the pattern and whole series of mine blasts, I would ... rule this as a serious violation by the LTTE,'' Henricsson said. ``I can't prove every explosion to one single party, (but) the blasts directed toward the army, (I'm) quite sure that it could not be launched by any other organization than the LTTE.''

It was the first time a member of the 60-strong Nordic mission has publicly blamed the rebels for the blasts, mostly involving Claymore mines that can be detonated by remote control and are designed to fire hundreds of steel balls. The military has said Claymores appear to be the favored weapon of the rebels.

More than 50 people have been killed since April 10, mostly in mine explosions. Others have died in clashes between ethnic Tamils and Sinhalese. The Tigers, meanwhile, have accused the military of targeting and killing their members.

The Tigers have denied responsibility for the blasts and said Tamil civilians affected by the military are acting on their own.

``Of course the LTTE will not admit that they are behind these attacks, and at the same time they have not denied very clearly either,'' Henricsson said.

Henricsson, 64, leads the mission that was set up to oversee the Norwegian-brokered 2002 cease-fire, which halted Sri Lanka's almost two-decade-long civil war.

The two sides met in Geneva in February and agreed to avoid violating the truce, but the ongoing violence has again raised tensions. The second round of talks is scheduled in Switzerland on April 24-25.

``The most important thing is to get the parties to Geneva and talk instead of fighting,'' said Henricsson.

Commenting on the chances of the April meetings taking place he said: ``I am still optimistic 50-50.''

Henricsson who took over as chief European cease-fire monitor this month.

He is no stranger in attempting to keep the peace in conflict zones. Henricsson commanded the Nordic battle group UNPROFOR in Bosnia-Herzegovina while the Balkan war raged in the 1990s. Discuss this story
Published: Tue Apr 18 11:34:39 EDT 2006

Norway steps up efforts to save Sri Lanka talks and faltering truce
Shimali Senanayake in Colombo, April 18th, 2006, SLT 4:00 pm. Norway's special peace envoy arrived in Sri Lanka on Tuesday aimed at saving crunch cease-fire talks between the government and the Tamil rebels even as troops found more Claymore mines amid a surge in violence.

Jon Hanssen-Baurer was scheduled to go straight into internal meetings with colleagues in Colombo on the ground situation before opening talks with the Sri Lankan government on Wednesday, officials involved in the peace process said.

He is scheduled to fly to the northern rebel-held capital of Kilinochchi on Thursday where he is expected to discuss the government's latest offer of a private chopper to transport rebel leaders for an internal meeting, without which they refuse to attend Swiss talks set for Monday.

The government's top official at the peace secretariat Palitha Kohona has vowed not to give the Tigers any "excuse not to go to Geneva."

However, even if the Tigers will concede to the mode of transport, it sill remained uncertain if they will turn up at the Geneva talks.

Earlier Tuesday, security forces recovered a five kilogram Claymore mine and two grenades in volatile eastern Trincomalee, hours before suspected Tigers hurled a hand grenade at an air force post. No one was injured. Trincomalee was still tense and an overnight curfew will go into effect later Tuesday, police said.

On Monday, a spate of blasts by suspected Tamil Tigers rocked the island's north and east killing at least eight people and wounding nearly a dozen, mostly security forces.

Meanwhile, the pro-rebel TamilNet Website said Tuesday, the Tigers had killed three Tamil paramilitary cadre and captured one other in an area controlled by the guerrillas in eastern Batticaloa.

The Tigers have accused the military of colluding with a breakaway rebel group. The government denies any involvement.

The last week has been one of the bloodiest in Sri Lanka since Norway brokered the February 22, 2002 truce, killing nearly 70 people.

On Tuesday, the government and Norwegian peace brokers held a series of meetings to discuss logistics for the possible air movement for the rebels.

The Tigers have repeatedly said they must hold an internal meeting between its commanders before attending the second round of Swiss talks, prompting the negotiations to be pushed back by five days to April 24.

On Sunday, the Tigers formally informed Hans Brattskar Norway's ambassador in Colombo, that they will not participate in the talks until the internal meeting is held.

The missive was sent a day after accusing the Sri Lanka navy of interfering with transport arrangement for its commanders to travel between the island's north and east. The government has denied any interference.

European cease-fire monitors have warned that an opportunity for much-needed talks may be slipping away.

"I fear we are running out of time =85 this is an opportunity that might be lost but we have to remain hopeful," said Helen Olafsdottir, spokeswoman for the monitors. Discuss this story
Published: Tue Apr 18 08:41:25 EDT 2006 Back to the top

Related News Stories
Mediators Scramble to Save Sri Lanka Peace Talks  - By SHIMALI SENANAYAKE (NYT)

Norwegian peace envoy arrives in Sri Lanka as negotiations and cease-fire falter
Associated Press, Tue April 18, 2006 07:31 EDT . KRISHAN FRANCIS - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) A Norwegian peace envoy arrived in Colombo Tuesday as separatist rebels threatened to walk away from peace talks with the Sri Lankan government in Geneva next week and spiraling violence threatened an Oslo-brokered cease-fire. Suspected rebels attacked a military post with hand grenades in Trincomalee in northeastern Sri Lanka - late Monday, injuring one soldier, the military said.

Kohona said he and Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera will meet with Norwegian envoy Jon Hanssen-Bauer Wednesday.

Hanssen-Bauer will travel to the rebel-stronghold of Kilinochchi Thursday to meet with rebel leaders, rebel spokesman Daya Master said.

The rebels insist they must hold a crucial internal meeting before they can attend the talks. They canceled a trip by sea to the meeting on Saturday, saying they felt threatened by the presence of four naval ships in the vicinity which the government said were there to ensure the rebels' safety.

Under the 2002 Norway-brokered truce that ended almost two decades of fighting, the government had been providing helicopters for top rebel officials traveling through government-held territory.

The government has turned down several requests for air transport in the past, but started doing so with much more frequency after relations with the rebels became strained amid rising violence.

The squabble over the transport issue is the latest dispute to strain relations between the government and the rebels, who began fighting in 1983 for a separate state for minority Tamils, claiming discrimination by the island's Sinhalese majority.
Published: Tue Apr 18 11:36:32 EDT 2006 Back to the top

Related News Stories
Norwegian Envoy Vows to Continue Peace Talks in Sri Lanka  -
Top Norwegian envoy due in Sri Lanka to save faltering peace bid  - Shimali Senanayake in Colombo

Sri Lanka - talks or war?, April 18, 2006, 15:16 EDT. Sri Lanka is either on the brink of conflict or on the way to Geneva for another round of talks to resolve its civil war... Back to the top

Eelam issue takes the backstage, Apr 18, 2006 . If the refugees in Tamil Nadu or the Tamils in Sri Lanka expected the island's ethnic issue to figure prominently in the election campaign here, they have been in for a disappointment... Back to the top

Child soldier killed in Sri Lanka mine attack: UNICEF, Tue, 18 April 2006. A Tamil Tiger child soldier has been killed in a Claymore mine blast in northern Sri Lanka, the UN agency for children said Monday... Back to the top

Indian democratic system could be replicated in Sri Lanka: MP, April 18. Former Sri Lankan Minister, G L Peiris, a member of parliament from Sri Lanka, today advocated a federal set-up of governance in the island republic on the lines of the Indian democratic system, with some minor modifications... Back to the top

Police pore over Tamil papers seized in raid
CBC, April 18. Police have begun to analyze the documents they seized at the office of the world Tamil movement in Montreal... Back to the top

Charity to act over terror laws
The Australian, April 18. A CHARITY suspected of raising money in Australia to fund terrorist attacks by the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka has suspended hundreds of thousands of dollars in overseas donations amid concern they may be breaching federal anti-terrorism laws... Back to the top

Sweet like Kandy in Sri Lanka, April 18. Often referred to as the Teardrop of India, Sri Lanka will soon be a splash of activity and excitement as festival season descends upon this small island in the Indian ocean... Back to the top

Norwegian peace envoy arriving to save Geneva talks, cease-fire in Sri Lanka
Associated Press, Tue April 18, 2006 02:14 EDT . DILIP GANGULY - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) A Norwegian peace envoy was to visit Sri Lanka - on Tuesday amid efforts to encourage the Tamil Tiger rebels to attend peace talks with the Sri Lankan government in Geneva next week, a senior peace official said, as rising violence threatens the island's fragile truce... Back to the top

Grenade attack on Sri Lankan military post leaves one soldier wounded
Associated Press, Mon April 17, 2006 23:46 EDT . - - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Suspected Tamil Tiger rebels attacked a military post in northeast Sri Lanka - , wounding at least one soldier, the military said Tuesday... Back to the top

EXCLUSIVE-INTERVIEW-S.Lanka Tigers add new conditions for talks, April 18, 2006, 07:40 EDT. By Peter Apps COLOMBO, April 18 (Reuters) - Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels said on Tuesday they will not attend a new round of scheduled peace talks in Geneva unless violence against ethnic Tamils stops, effectively adding new conditions for their participation... Back to the top

Situation in Sri Lanka not beyond redemption: Peiris, April 18, 2006, 07:40 EDT. CHENNAI: Despite the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam suspending participation in the Geneva talks with the Sri Lankan Government, "the situation, though bad, was not beyond redemption," G... Back to the top

S.Lanka rebels consider new offer, April 18, 2006, 07:40 EDT. COLOMBO (Reuters) - A top envoy from mediator Norway headed for Sri Lanka on Tuesday to meet government leaders and Tamil Tiger rebels, who are pondering whether a new government offer is enough to make them join peace talks... Back to the top

Lanka in danger of reverting to civil war
Dawn, April 18, 2006, 07:40 EDT. With Sri Lanka’s Tamil Tiger rebels pulling out of talks with the government, the peace process may falter, leading to more violence and a danger the island could revert to a ruinous two-decade civil war, analysts and diplomats said... Back to the top

Sri Lanka offers private air craft to Tamil Tiger rebels to save truce talk s
Shimali Senanayake in Colombo, April 17th, 2006, SLT 9:30 pm. The Sri Lankan government on Monday agreed to allow the Tamil Tiger rebels to use a private helicopter to transport its cadre for an internal meeting aimed at ensuring crucial cease-fire talks take place next week... Back to the top

Police raid Montreal offices of Tamil group
National Post, April 17. Police have raided the offices of a Tamil organization in Montreal as part of an investigation into terrorist financing, the RCMP said yesterday... Back to the top

Explosion in northern Sri Lanka kills 4 soldiers, 6 wounded
Shimali Senanayake in Colombo, April 17th, 2006, SLT 10:00 am. Suspected Tamil Tiger rebels killed at least four soldiers and wounded six others in a powerful bomb explosion in northern Sri Lanka, the military said... Back to the top

Sri Lanka’s Central Bank scrambles to satisfy unprecedented cash ..., April 18, 2006, 07:40 EDT. Apr.17 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s Central Bank scrambled to cater to an unusually heavy demand for currency notes over the April festive holiday season... Back to the top

LTTE says 'no talks until all hurdles removed'
Munza Mushtaq in Colombo, April 17, 2006, 1.06 p.m.. LTTE political wing leader S.P. Tamilselvan has declared that his organisation will not participate in any future Geneva talks with the Sri Lankan Government unless all hurdles facings his organisation is removed and a 'more conducive environment' is created for them by the Sri Lankan Government... Back to the top

UNICEF slams Sri Lanka rebels on child recruitment+
Associated Press, Mon April 17, 2006 06:41 EDT . COLOMBO, April 17 (Kyodo) The United Nations Children's Fund decried Monday the death last week of a 17-year-old in the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam auxiliary ''in a reported claymore mine incident'' and called on the LTTE to immediately release all underage recruits within its ranks and end child recruitment... Back to the top

LTTE’s conditions for talks can t be met easily, April 17, 2006, 06:50 EDT. The LTTE on Sunday formally suspended its participation in the Geneva talks, saying that its short term and long term demands would have to be met first, to create a "conducive environment" for the talks... Back to the top

Donors’ group gravely concerned by Sri Lanka violence, April, 17. The European Union, Japan, Norway and the United States, co-chairs of Sri Lanka’s donors’ group, expressed grave concern on Friday about the worsening situation in the country and condemned recent violence... Back to the top

Sri Lanka hopes to expand liquid petroleum gas production, April 17, 2006, 08:10 EDT. Apr.17 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s state oil giant Ceypetco, hopes to increase liquid gas production and process more high value fuels, when they secure funds to expands their oil refinery... Back to the top

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