The Lanka Academic

MAY 14, 2006 EST, USA
VOL. 7, NO. 38

Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without. - Lord Buddha

Candidate for UN Secretary General from Sri Lanka.

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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
EU mulls slapping ban on the Tiger rebels; Government holds secret talks in Spain
Shimali Senanayake in Colombo, May 14th, 2006. The government's top official handling the peace process held talks with Norwegian peace brokers in Spain, as the European Union weighed weather to place the Tamil Tigers on a list of banned terrorist organizatio ns, officials said.

Palitha Kohona, head of the government's peace secretariat flew to Bacelona on Tuesday for meetings with Jon Hanssen-Bauer, Norway's special envoy to Sri Lanka, senior officials involved in the peace process said.

The talks focused on a long-term strategy for Sri Lanka's future peace, rather than how to overcome the immediate crisis, the officials said, as Sri Lanka's four-year-old cease-fire unraveled.

The two had just concluded a meeting when the Tamil rebels launched a massi ve attack on a passenger ferry carrying 710 unarmed troops in northern Jaffna. The navy, along with air cover from the air force, successfully repulsed the attack. The incident was the most serious in the four-years truce and killed 17 navy personnel and an estimated 50 Tigers.

The EU, which imposed travel restrictions on the Tigers in September, a month after the assassination of foreign minister Lakshman Kadirgamar, was taking note of latest deadly surge in violence.

The EU has called the rebels' attack on the navy convoy "reckless," and a move that jeopardizes future peace talks.

Julian Wilson, EU ambassador in Sri Lanka said including the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam or LTTE, on a list of banned terrorist organizations was "under close review."

Other officials said an EU travel ban on the LTTE, financial restrictions and an assert freeze was also under consideration.

A ban by the 25-member will be a huge setback on the Tigers, which has more than 200,000 Tamil diapora there, on which it relies on for financial support.

The LTTE is already banned in the United States, Britain, India and more recently in Canada.

In Spain, Kohona and Hanssen-Bauer also discussed the co-chair meeting set for the end of this month in Tokyo, Japan. The meeting will clearly be one of the most important since the United States, Japan, the European Union and Norway threw their joint support behind Sri Lanka's quest for peace.

Japanese envoy Yasushi Akashi during a visit last week described the up-coming meeting as a "soul searching," exercise.

He said the co-chair support was "on the premise that there was steady progress in the peace process." Although there have been "some achievements," there were "many setbacks."

India has also been invited to participate in the Tokyo meeting.

Kohona returned early Sunday. Discuss this story
Published: Sun May 14 05:34:31 EDT 2006

President orders probe into civilian deaths in Sri Lanka, May 14, 2006, 16:36 GMT. Colombo - President Mahinda Rajapaksa Sunday ordered an investigation into the deaths of 13 civilians including two children in northern Sri Lanka.

Rajapaksa condemned the deaths in four different places in the islands off the northern Jaffna peninsula on Sunday. All victims had been shot dead.

Rebels had carried out the killings in an effort to disrepute the government, it said, but Tamil rebels blamed the killings on the Navy.

Residents said the Navy was responsible for the attacks, the pro- rebel Tamilnet website quoted them as saying.

While a local judge has visited the scenes of the attacks, there has so far been no independent confirmation of those responsible for the attacks. More... Discuss this story
Published: Sun May 14 15:03:56 EDT 2006 Back to the top

President vows to protect Sri Lanka sovereignty at any cost
Associated Press, May 14. DILIP GANGULY

Associated Press Writer

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) _ President Mahinda Rajapakse has vowed to protect Sri Lanka's sovereignty at any cost and threatened tough action if Tamil Tiger rebels refuse to end a spasm of violence that has left more than 170 people dead since early April.

Suspected rebels, meanwhile, fatally shot a member of a breakaway faction late Saturday in eastern Batticaloa, a local police officer said Sunday on condition of anonymity because of police regulations.

Rajapakse said he would not hesitate to take stern action if the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam continue to unleash attacks on security forces. The violence has killed more than 170 people since the start of April, nearly destroying efforts by Norwegian peace brokers to restart peace talks.

``If they (LTTE) insist on continuing their attacks, I will have to defend my country,'' Rajapakse said in an interview published in Colombo's Sunday Times.

``I have vowed to protect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Sri Lanka,'' Rajapakse was quoted as saying.

Rajapakse's comments came after the rebels threatened to resume war if they are denied access to the sea adjoining areas they control.

The threat of renewed warfare by the rebels is the latest in a steady escalation of tensions.

``We will not hesitate to wage war with anyone who attempts to prevent us from exercising our freedom,'' Col. Soosai, who heads the Sea Tigers, the rebels' naval wing, was quoted as saying by pro-rebel Web site, TamilNet, on Saturday.

The warning came just days after rebel suicide boats rammed and sank a navy patrol craft. Thursday's attack and a subsequent sea battle led to dozens of deaths.

Separately, European truce monitors announced they were suspending sea monitoring missions after rebels said they could be in danger from Tamil Tiger attacks.

On Saturday, Tamil rebels claimed naval forces killed eight Tamil civilians in an attack in northern Sri Lanka.

TamilNet claimed the navy surrounded the village of Allaipiddy on the northern Jaffna peninsula and bombarded its residents with grenades.

But on Sunday, residents, speaking on condition of anonymity fearing retribution, said unidentified men raided a home and killed the residents in a hail of gunfire. The motive behind the alleged attack was not known.

In the northern Jaffna, a Tamil resident was also fatally shot early Sunday, local police said. The motive behind the killing was not known.

The shooting in Batticaloa and Jaffna are likely to heighten tensions and adds to growing fears that a 2002 cease-fire between the rebels and government could collapse.

Navy spokesman D.K.P. Dassnayake said sailors in the area heard a blast but he denied the navy was involved.

The threat of renewed warfare by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam is the latest in violence that threatens to destroy a 2002 cease-fire agreement with the government.

The 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 died in the conflict before the 2002 truce.

Discuss this story
Published: Sun May 14 02:37:01 EDT 2006 Back to the top

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President vows to protect Sri Lanka sovereignty at any cost, 4 dead in fresh violence  - Associated Press

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Jayawardene leads Sri Lanka 's resistance
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Cease-fire monitors suspend sea operations in Sri Lanka +
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Tamil rebels threaten a return to war, claim Sri Lankan navy killed six civilians
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