The Lanka Academic

 
AUGUST 2, 2008 EST, USA
 
QUAERE VERUM
 
VOL. 9, NO. 119

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S. Asian summit begins in Sri Lanka amid tight security+
Associated Press, Sat August 2, 2008 00:04 EDT . COLOMBO, Aug. 2 (Kyodo) _ Leaders of eight South Asian countries together representing 1.5 billion people kicked off their 15th summit meeting Saturday amid tight security involving 20,000 armed police and troops within the Sri Lankan capital.

A meeting of the foreign ministers of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Afghanistan, Bhutan and the Maldives preceded the summit of the heads of state or government of countries grouped into the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation that opened at Colombo's convention center spruced up for the occasion.

Security, including the presence of two Indian warships off the coast of Colombo and three Indian military helicopters parked within the city's high security zone, underlined India's concerns about the safety of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who arrived here Friday for the meeting.

''India has not forgotten that the Tamil Tiger rebels in 1991 assassinated Rajiv Gandhi who was campaigning'' to return to the prime ministership, said Nanda Godage, a retired Sri Lankan ambassador who has served in New Delhi.

''But they have learned from their mistakes and it's inconceivable that they would try anything again,'' he said.

Although the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam have as a gesture of goodwill declared a 10-day unilateral truce, not reciprocated by the Sri Lanka government, India is taking no chances with a large contingent of its elite Special Protection Group here to protect Singh.

Two armored vehicles have also been flown here for the Indian prime minister's use. Sri Lanka too imported several armored limousines for the use of the VIP guests.

Myanmar and Australia were formally admitted Thursday to participate as observers of the meeting, joining China, the European Union, Iran, Mauritius, Japan, South Korea and the United States.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi told reporters that the foreign ministers at their meeting agreed to guidelines for the future induction of observers.

Responding to criticism that SAARC has for too long been a talk shop with little or no tangible results, he said the group must now ''move from a declaratory stage to an implementation stage.''

Sri Lanka, which says its war with the LTTE that has cost over 70,000 lives in three decades is not an ethnic problem with the country's Tamil minority but a ''terrorist problem,'' is particularly interested in a resolution to criminalize terrorism in the region, which the foreign ministers have agreed on and is due to be presented for endorsement by the summit.

''The future of SAARC hinges on its ability to bring about a meaningful cooperation among its members vis-a-vis economic and security issues affecting the region,'' The Island newspaper said in its editorial.

Prabath Sahabandu, the paper's editor, said SAARC's failure to produce results has made cynics dub it NATO -- ''no action, talk only.''

''We only hope that there will be a difference this time around, where the antiterrorism pact is concerned,'' he said.Discuss this story
Published: Sat Aug 2 01:49:04 EDT 2008


India has to act in Sri Lanka, pro-LTTE group tells PM
indiatimes.com, August 2, 2008, 04:35 EDT. COLOMBO: A Tamil political party sympathetic to the Tamil Tigers has told Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that India has to play a role in ending the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka. Accusing Colombo of causing misery to civilians by relentlessly pursuing war against the Tigers, a team of MPs from the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) told Manmohan Singh here late Friday that the global community also expected India to act. "India has a role to play. India's role (in Sri Lanka) is primary. And India should play that role," TNA team leader R. Sambandan, a 75-year-old MP from Trincomalee, said, giving a gist of what he and his other colleagues told Manmohan Singh. Sambandan said the international community, which too favours peace in Sri Lanka, was deferential to India and did not want to take any step without New Delhi's approval. "So India has to play a role," he said. More...
Published: Sat Aug 2 04:36:19 EDT 2008 Back to the top

Sri Lankan troops enter rebel capital's district
Associated Press, Sat August 2, 2008 07:49 EDT . BHARATHA MALLAWARACHI - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Sri Lankan government troops have entered the district housing the Tamil Tiger rebels' de facto capital for the first time in 11 years, the military said Saturday as a regional summit opened in the capital. The summit of the South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation brings together the heads of government of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka - .

The Tamil rebels have been fighting for an independent state in the north and east since 1983, following decades of marginalization of ethnic Tamils by governments dominated by the Sinhalese majority. The fighting has escalated in recent months after the government vowed to crush the rebels by the end of the year.

More than 70,000 people have been killed in the conflict.
Published: Sat Aug 2 18:53:08 EDT 2008 Back to the top


Sri Lanka president focuses on terrorism at South Asian summit+
Associated Press, Sat August 2, 2008 04:41 EDT . - - Sri Lanka - has been wracked by civil war costing over 70,000 lives in over three decades of fighting between government forces and minority Tamil rebels of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, but Rajapaksa and his government insists that the conflict is not an ethnic problem but a terrorist problem... Back to the top

Heavy fighting kills 52 in Sri Lanka ahead of South Asian summit
AFP, Sat., August 02, 2008, 04:41. COLOMBO (AFP) — Heavy fighting broke out in northern Sri Lanka on the eve of a South Asian summit in the capital, leaving at least 14 government soldiers and 38 rebels killed, a military official said Saturday... Back to the top

India strengthen position against Sri Lanka
Associated Press, Sat August 2, 2008 05:55 EDT . KRISHAN FRANCIS - Associated Press Writer - GALLE, Sri Lanka - (AP) Openers Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir continued their impressive form Saturday with half-centuries that pushed India into a strong position against Sri Lanka - on day three of the second test... Back to the top

Heavy fighting erupts in Sri Lanka ahead of South Asian summit
hindustantimes.com, 2/8/2008. Heavy fighting broke out in northern Sri Lanka on the eve of a South Asian summit in the capital, leaving at least 11 government soldiers and seven rebels killed, a military official said on Saturday... Back to the top

Battles kill 35 rebels, 14 soldiers in Sri Lanka
Associated Press, Sat August 2, 2008 02:45 EDT . BHARATHA MALLAWARACHI - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Fierce fighting between government forces and Tamil Tiger rebels across Sri Lanka - 's embattled northern region killed 35 rebels and 14 soldiers, the military said Saturday as a top regional summit kicked off in the capital... Back to the top

Sri Lanka says Tamil Tigers have links to al-Qaida
Associated Press, Fri August 1, 2008 12:34 EDT . - - The comprehensive briefing on ''countering terrorism in Sri Lanka'' was arranged for local and foreign reporters on the eve of a summit of eight South Asian nations, which is expected to be dominated by the member countries' concerns over the growing wave of terrorism in the region... Back to the top

Sri Lankan Forces Kill Female Tamil Tiger Commander, Army Says
bloomberg.com, Aug 1, 2008. (Bloomberg) -- Sri Lankan forces killed a female regional leader of the Tamil Tiger rebels and three of her bodyguards during clashes in the north, the army said, as South Asian leaders prepare to meet in the capital, Colombo... Back to the top

Military: Sri Lanka fighting kills 22
Associated Press, Fri August 1, 2008 02:12 EDT . - - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) The Sri Lankan military says new fighting in the northern war zone has killed 21 rebel fighters and one soldier... Back to the top

Sri Lanka 215-5 against India
Associated Press, Fri August 1, 2008 09:33 EDT . KRISHAN FRANCIS - Associated Press Writer - GALLE, Sri Lanka - (AP) Offspinner Harbhajan Singh claimed four quick Sri Lanka wickets in the final session Friday as India took back the upper hand after two days of a fluctuating second test... Back to the top

Indians admit fishing in Sri Lanka’s troubled waters
3, august 2. NEW DELHI: Indian fishermen under attack from Sri Lanka’s navy admit they frequently fish in the island nation’s waters, but argue that they have no other choice and that cross-country fishing needs to be quickly regularised... Back to the top

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