The Lanka Academic

JUNE 3, 2006 EST, USA
VOL. 7, NO. 58


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
US slams LTTE, mentions Tamil Homeland, Self-rule within Lanka
Dayan Jayatilleka, June 3. The United States has, for the first time, clearly spelled out its stand on Sri Lanka’s ethnic question, and used the term ‘homeland’. The top US government official dealing with Sri Lanka, US Asst Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, Richard Boucher outlined US policy in two presentations in Colombo last week; one a press conference and the other a speech to the American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM).

Mr Boucher drew a sharp distinction between the Tigers and the Tamils; between not talking to the Tigers and addressing the legitimate demands and aspirations of the Tamil and Muslim people.

He placed the struggle against Tigers in the broad framework of the global war on terror, and in the same category as the campaign being waged against terrorism by the US in Afghanistan. “The Tiger leadership has to understand that the entire world is united in its determination to combat terror, whether it emanates from the mountains of Afghanistan or the fields of the Wanni. As a friend of Sri Lanka - , the United States will do whatever we can to help the sovereign Sri Lankan government in its struggle against this menace.” (Remarks to the AMCHAM, June 1, AP June 2)

The top US official outlined the need for a political solution “within a single nation of Sri Lanka”.

He referred favourably to President Rajapakse’s recent pledge of ‘maximum devolution within an undivided country’ as well as to the earlier agreements in Oslo, on internal self–determination and federalism’, while adding that the US could not dictate any particular formula.

“We also think the government should provide a positive vision to Tamils and Muslims of a future Sri Lanka - where their legitimate grievances are addressed and their security assured. President Rajapaksa has spoken of maximum devolution. Previous negotiations have agreed on internal self-determination within a federal framework. However the idea is expressed, it could offer hope to many in the North and East that they will have control over their own lives and destinies within a single nation of Sri Lanka.” (Remarks to AMCHAM)

At the Colombo media conference, Boucher signalled a significant development in US policy on Sri Lanka, using the term ‘homeland’ and indicating that a measure of self-rule/self-government in the areas traditionally inhabited by the Tamils, was a legitimate desire.

“I think we all understand that the Tamil community in Sri Lanka has certain rights and certain needs and certain grievances that need to be addressed…Although we reject the methods that the Tamil Tigers have used, there are legitimate issues that are raised by the Tamil community and they have a very legitimate desire, as anybody would, to be able to control their own lives, to rule their own destinies and to govern themselves in their homeland; in the areas they’ve traditionally inhabited so I don’t want to confuse the issue of talking to Tamils and understanding legitimate grievances and legitimate aspirations of the Tamil community with not talking to the LTTE. Whether to talk to the Tigers or not is based upon their behavior and if they continue terrorism we won’t. If they abandon terrorism and one’s able to say they are no longer a terrorist organization, then we would find opportunities to consider [dealing with them]….”

He went on to urge deep-going reforms in Sri Lanka’s governing structure, and stated what those reforms should achieve.

“… When you look at the situation now and the forms of government and the way things are structured now, and what it would take to involve the Tamil community politically in a new arrangement -- that does require a great deal of change. A radical change in terms of movement. Now that’s a change that can be considered. A vision needs to be put out and needs to be elaborated by the parties themselves and then negotiated by the parties themselves.But whatever you call it, it is quite a different governing structure than what you have now and one that’s designed to give an enhanced political role to all the people of Sri Lanka but particularly to take into account the desire of Tamils and Muslims to have more control over their own destinies and over their own areas.” (State Dept release, June 2, 2006, Lanka Academic network. My emphases- DJ) At the press conference Mr Boucher disclosed that the US intended to work with other governments to cut off the LTTE’s arms supplies.

The US State department’s website USINFO.STATE.GOV, headlined the story of the Boucher visit in its Washington File, as ‘U.S. Affirms Support for Sri Lankan Fight Against Terrorists’ with a ‘strap’ reading ‘State's Boucher says Sri Lankan Tamil minority has legitimate grievances’.( Phillip Kurata, Washington File Staff Writer).Discuss this story
Published: Sat Jun 3 14:51:16 EDT 2006

Related News Stories
U.S. Affirms Support for Sri Lankan Fight Against Terrorists  - USINFO
Ambassador Richard A. Boucher'S Remarks As Prepared For Delivery To The American Chamber Of Commerce  - Associated Press

Sri Lanka government says door for peace still open, June 03, 2006. The Sri Lankan government said Friday that the door is still open for Tamil Tiger rebels to re- enter the negotiating table despite a ban clamped down on it by the European Union.

Keheliya Rambukwella, the Minister of Policy Planning and the government's defense spokesman told reporters that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebels are free to renounce violence and start talks with the government.

Rambukwella said the EU ban on the Tigers was self inflicted through their continued acts of terror.

"If they want to give up violence and start talks in a civilized manner, we are ready," said Rambukwella.

The European Union on Wednesday announced that it has included the LTTE in the list of terror organizations.

Rambukwella added that the EU had gone a step further by stating that the rebels cannot be accepted as the sole representatives of the minority Tamil community.

He said the government treats next week's talks in Oslo aimed at discussing the role of the international truce monitors in the Norwegian backed fragile truce seriously.

The LTTE and the government are to meet on June 8-9 in Oslo to discuss the issues concerning the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission ( SLMM). More... Discuss this story
Published: Sat Jun 3 13:06:33 EDT 2006 Back to the top

2 soldiers killed, 2 injured in mine blasts in Sri Lanka , military says
Associated Press, Sat June 3, 2006 12:34 EDT . COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Two government soldiers were killed and two others wounded Saturday in separate mine blasts blamed on Tamil Tiger rebels in Sri Lanka - 's volatile north and east, the military said.

The first Claymore mine attack on a group of soldiers on route clearing patrol occurred at Welioya, about 255 kilometers (158 miles) northeast of Colombo, killing one, military spokesman Brig. Prasad Samarasinghe said.

Another soldier was wounded by a mine buried in the same area, he said.

The second blast occurred close to a military vehicle in northern Jaffna peninsula, killing one soldier and injuring another, the military's media unit said.

Jaffna peninsula is about 300 kilometers (185 miles) north of Colombo.

The military blamed separatist Tamil Tiger rebels for the mine blasts.

The violence occurred as the representatives of the Sri Lankan government and the Tamil rebels prepared to travel to Norway for a meeting aimed at propping up an increasingly shaky cease-fire on June 8-9.

President Mahinda Rajapakse on Friday proposed appointing a committee comprised of all political parties to formulate constitutional changes to solve the country's long-drawn separatist conflict, which has claimed an estimated 65,000 lives before the 2002 cease-fire.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam have fought the government since 1983 to create a separate state for ethnic minority Tamils in the north and east, accusing the majority Sinhalese of discrimination. Discuss this story
Published: Sat Jun 3 15:52:32 EDT 2006 Back to the top

Related News Stories
One Sri Lankan soldier killed in mine explosion, another injured  - Associated Press

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India will not export its democracy to Myanmar, says defense minister
Associated Press, Fri June 2, 2006 23:51 EDT . GILLIAN WONG Associated Press Writer SINGAPORE (AP) _ India, often hailed as the world's biggest democracy, will not export its free society ideology to neighboring military-ruled Myanmar, the country's defense minister said Saturday... Back to the top

Sri Lanka takes five wickets as England struggles to tea on day two of third test
Associated Press, Sat June 3, 2006 10:55 EDT . VALKERIE MANGNALL - AP Sports Writer - NOTTINGHAM, England (AP) Sri Lanka - claimed five wickets Saturday to send England to tea 40 runs behind with only three wickets in hand on the second day of the third and final test at Trent Bridge... Back to the top

Sri Lanka says EU ban on Tigers sparking fresh peace bid+
Associated Press, Fri June 2, 2006 11:28 EDT . COLOMBO, June 2 (Kyodo) _ Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse on Friday called for a fresh peace initiative to share power with the Tamil Tiger rebels in the wake of the European Union's blacklisting of the Tigers... Back to the top

Sri Lanka gives security guarantee to Tamil Tiger rebels to help attend Oslo talks
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Norway says it will work with Tamil Tigers despite EU labeling group as terrorists
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Sri Lanka steps up security amid bomb scare, June 2. Colombo, June 2. (PTI): Sri lanka today stepped up security in the capital and sought public support amid fears of bomb attacks by Tamil Tiger rebels... Back to the top

Lewis, Flintoff claim three wickets to lead England in third test against Sri Lanka
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DATELINE SRI LANKA, 2 June, 2006. COLOMBO: Not a single family has fled Muttur following LTTE threats to vacate their lands, military sources have said... Back to the top

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