The Lanka Academic

VOL. 7, NO. 206


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We have lost a great mathe- matician, engineer, scientist, an old timer of SLNet/LAcNet and a former LAcNet director. Pubudu Dayawansa (Daya) was instrumental in carrying out many LAcNet projects. He was responsible in setting up "Colombo Calling" a website that was designed to carry weekly articles from Sri Lankan Academic community and Human Rights activists. [ More...]
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
Heavy shelling in north Sri Lanka after talks fail
Reuters, Oct. 29, 2006. COLOMBO, Oct 30 (Reuters) - Heavy artillery shelling resumed in northern Sri Lanka on Monday just hours after peace talks between the government and Tamil Tigers collapsed, triggering fears of a deepening civil war.

Residents in the army-held Jaffna peninsula said fierce shelling began before dawn, an eerie reminder of months of fighting that killed hundreds of civilians, troops and rebel fighters in the run-up to the talks in Geneva.

The abortive talks ended on Sunday with both sides meeting separately with mediator Norway before failing even to agree on whether not to meet again for talks in the future.

That was a worst case scenario for many analysts, diplomats and residents, who now fear the worst fighting since a now-tattered 2002 ceasefire will resume in earnest. More... Discuss this story
Published: Sun Oct 29 22:29:41 EST 2006

Sri Lankan government, Tamil Tiger negotiators end peace talks without breakthroughs
Associated Press, Sun October 29, 2006 12:15 EST . FRANK JORDANS

Associated Press Writer

GENEVA (AP) _ Sri Lankan government and rebel Tamil Tiger negotiators failed to reach any major breakthrough in a new round of peace talks that ended Sunday in an atmosphere clouded by new tensions in the Indian Ocean island nation.

The two days of talks ended on schedule without the two sides even agreeing on a date for a new round of talks, said Erik Solheim, Norway's minister for international development.

``No agreement was reached by the parties on how to address the humanitarian crisis,'' Solheim told reporters.

Hopes were slim from the outset that a 2002 Norwegian-brokered cease-fire could be revived, with both sides refusing to give way on key issues, including humanitarian access to the northern Jaffna Peninsula.

Sri Lanka's Health Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva, who led the government delegation, said the government offered sea access to Jaffna, but that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, the rebels' formal name, had refused the offer.

``The ball is in the LTTE's court,'' he said.

He said the rebels refused to agree on a new date for talks because of the government had rejected their demand that a key road be reopened to allow humanitarian supplies to be taken north. The government insists that a sea route is cheaper and more efficient.

The rebels said the sea access was inadequate to allow aid agencies to provide relief to the Tamils living in the Jaffna region which has been cut off by fierce fighting, leaving thousands without food and other essential supplies.

``Closure of the A9 highway has resulted in an open prison for more than 600,000 people,'' said an LTTE statement, adding that agreement to open the route was a precondition to the rebels' accept a new date for talks.

Solheim said both sides, however, had told the Norwegian mediators that they would refrain from launching any offensives.

``The proof of that pudding is in the eating,'' Solheim said.

Earlier Sunday a Tamil Tiger delegate taking part in talks warned of ``serious consequences'' if the island nation's military advances while negotiations are under way.

``Our troops along the Northern Province defense line noticed a heavy military presence, and informants tell us they have imposed a curfew along the defense line,'' the rebels' military spokesman, Rasiah Ilanthirayan, told The Associated Press. ``This is usually done in preparation for military operations. We are very disappointed by the actions of the government. Exploitation ... for military advancement can cause serious consequences.''

Ilanthirayan did not spell out what the consequences of military action might be.

He said shelling took place overnight in Muhamalai, Kilali and Nagarkovil villages along a line that divides government and rebel territories in the northern Jaffna peninsula.

In Sri Lanka the military said one Tamil Tiger rebel and five civilians were killed Sunday when a bomb allegedly carried by the guerrilla exploded prematurely in Udupiddy village, on the northern Jaffna peninsula, 300 kilometers (185 miles) north of the capital, Colombo.

The military said on its Web site that suspected Tamil Tigers attacked a Special Task Force camp late Saturday in the eastern district of Ampara and that the elite forces retaliated, killing two insurgents. Earlier in the day, the military had said militants shot and killed a soldier and wounded six police officers in bomb attacks in the north and east.

Renewed fighting between Tamil Tigers and government forces has killed some 2,000 soldiers, rebels and civilians this year.

The Norwegian-sponsored peace talks, held under heavy security for the second time in Switzerland this year, have so far produced little in the way of tangible progress toward reviving the cease-fire agreement or ending the 23-year civil war in the South Asian country. Overall more than 65,000 people have been killed.

Rohitha Bogollagama, Sri Lanka's development minister and delegate at the talks, told the AP that the government was worried about the rebels profiting from aid trucks going through their territory.

``One of the factors that has to be taken into account is the practice of the LTTE of levying extortionate fees on transport through the areas that they control,'' Bogollagama said.

``The result is that goods that reach Jaffna are invariable more expensive than they are in the south,'' he said.

The Tigers, who have been fighting for an independent homeland in northern and eastern Sri Lanka since 1983, accuse the government of engaging in an ``undeclared war'' in contravention of the 2002 cease-fire plan.

The government says the Tigers do not represent the will of the Tamil minority on the island, and are guilty of serious human rights abuses _ including the recruitment of child soldiers. Discuss this story
Published: Sun Oct 29 13:33:08 EST 2006 Back to the top

Related News Stories
Sri Lankan peace talks end in deadlock over road blockade  - Associated Press

Blast in northern Sri Lanka kills 1 Tamil rebel, 5 civilians, military says
Associated Press, Sun October 29, 2006 10:24 EST . RUWAN WEERAKOON - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) One Tamil Tiger rebel and five civilians were killed Sunday when a bomb allegedly carried by the guerrilla exploded prematurely, the military said, as government and rebel negotiators started a second day of peace talks in Switzerland. The government blames Sri Lanka - 's separatist rebels for a series of roadside bomb explosions that have killed dozens of security forces and civilians over the years.

Mostly, the bombs were attached to motorbikes and bicycles parked on the roadside.

There was no immediate comment from the rebels on Sunday's blast.

Tamil Tigers, earlier Sunday, lambasted the government for not agreeing to lift its blockade of Jaffna, and warned of ``serious consequences'' if the military steps up its actions during ongoing peace negotiations.

Rebel and government negotiators attending the talks in Geneva, hope to salvage a 2002 cease-fire and end 23 years of civil conflict on the South Asian island.

The cease-fire has virtually collapsed this year in a major upsurge of fighting in the Tamil-majority north and east. The United Nations says the renewed violence has caused more than 200,000 people to flee their homes in the area, where the rebels want to establish a separate Tamil state.

The conflict cost the lives of more than 65,000 people before the cease-fire. At least 2,000 civilians and combatants have been killed this year alone.

The first day of talks on Saturday ``concluded without the parties agreeing to any measures to relieve the humanitarian crisis,'' the pro-rebel Web site TamilNet reported.

The rebels say the government has isolated the northern Jaffna peninsula from the rest of the country, and are demanding that a key road be reopened to allow the delivery of humanitarian supplies.

The government denies there is any blockade and insists a sea delivery route is cheaper, more efficient and safer.

``We took up the humanitarian crisis in Jaffna as the urgent priority issue,'' TamilNet quoted Tigers' political chief, S.P. Tamilselvan, as saying after Saturday's talks, the first formal meeting between the two sides since February.

``The Sri Lankan government was not prepared to relieve the population from the unfolding humanitarian catastrophe,'' Tamilselvan said.

Meanwhile, a rebel official attending the peace talks told The Associated Press in Geneva that the government is building troops numbers near a northern line that divides government and rebel-held territories.

``This is usually done in preparation for military operations. We are very disappointed by the actions of the government. Exploitation ... for military advancement can cause serious consequences,'' said rebel military spokesman, Rasiah Ilanthirayan.

The military denied it was increasing the numbers of its troops near the northern line.

``It is completely wrong,'' military spokesman Brig. Prasad Samarasinghe said, accusing the rebels of carrying out false propaganda.

The rebels want a self-ruled homeland for minority ethnic Tamils, citing discrimination by the majority Sinhalese. The government says it can offer autonomy, but not a separate state. Discuss this story
Published: Sun Oct 29 11:54:04 EST 2006 Back to the top

Suicide attack LTTE’s weapon of choice, Sunday, October 29, 2006 - 12:12 EDT. Colombo: A violent run-up to peace talks – though a string of suicide attacks by Tamil rebels left scores dead in just the past two weeks... Back to the top

Sri Lankan rebels urge government to lift Jaffna blockade; warn against military moves
Associated Press, Sun October 29, 2006 06:58 EST . KRISHAN FRANCIS - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Sri Lanka - 's separatist rebels lambasted the government for not agreeing to lift its blockade of an ethnic Tamil stronghold in the north, and warned of ``serious consequences'' if the military steps up its actions during ongoing negotiations... Back to the top

Swiss talks hit slippery slope for Sri Lanka warring parties
afp, Oct. 28, 2006. GENEVA (AFP) - Peace brokers struggled to save Sri Lanka's collapsing ceasefire as critical talks between the warring parties entered the second and final day in Geneva with both sides sticking to their guns... Back to the top

1 soldier, 1 civilian killed, 6 police wounded in Sri Lanka as peace talks begin
Associated Press, Sat October 28, 2006 09:59 EDT . BHARATHA MALLAWARACHI - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Suspected Tamil Tiger rebels fatally shot a government soldier and wounded six police officers in two bomb attacks Saturday in volatile northeastern Sri Lanka - , as peace talks began in Switzerland between the two sides... Back to the top

Police in Sri Lanka look for Indian nationals who defrauded ..., 29 October 2006 13:11:41. Oct 29 (LBO) - Police have sought advice from the Attorney General on how to proceed in getting international help to track down two Indian nationals who ran a Ponzi-style pyramid scam in Sri Lanka... Back to the top

Sri Lanka beckons Indian IT firms, October 29, 2006. Sri Lanka's Science and Technology Minister Tissa Vitharana Sunday invited Indian IT firms to invest in the island nation and help it replicate India's success in the knowledge sector... Back to the top

Floods, landslides kill 13 and displace thousands in Sri Lanka, Oct 29. Overnight floods caused by heavy rains in Sri Lanka killed at least two people overnight, taking the death toll in the past three days to 13, a government relief official and a news report said today... Back to the top

Embrace democracy: Lanka to LTTE, October 28, 2006. At the opening session of the peace talks in Geneva on Saturday, the Sri Lankan government asked the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to eschew violence and embrace democracy to end the misery of the long-suffering people of North-East Sri Lanka... Back to the top

Sri Lanka row over merger poses new challenge for India, Sunday, October 29, 2006 - 01:15 EDT. New Delhi, Oct 29 (IANS) A judicial verdict axing the merger of Sri Lanka's northern and eastern provinces, for the Tamils the most enduring success of the 1987 India-Sri Lanka pact, poses a foreign policy challenge to New Delhi... Back to the top

Sri Lanka Tigers: Bombing their way to Swiss talks, 28 October 2006. Sri Lanka’s Tiger rebels, who are in Geneva for peace talks on Saturday, have been outlawed by the European Union, the United States and several other countries, but the international community still wants them at the negotiating table... Back to the top

· Pakistan’s ISI trying to use LTTE to target South India, Oct. 28, 2006. Most dreaded terror networks the LTTE and the ISI have joined hands... Back to the top

Sri Lanka , rebels prepare for peace talks as bombs injure 6 police
Associated Press, Sat October 28, 2006 03:00 EDT . - - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Suspected Tamil Tiger rebels set off two roadside bombs that wounded six police officers Saturday in the volatile northeast, the military said, as government and rebel negotiators prepared for peace talks in Switzerland... Back to the top

Sri Lanka government set to meet rebels in Geneva, 28 Oct 2006 00:59:55 GMT. GENEVA, Oct 28 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan government officials and Tamil Tiger rebels meet in Geneva on Saturday for the first time in eight months, although little progress was expected from the talks amid ongoing violence on the South Asian island... Back to the top

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