The Lanka Academic

VOL. 9, NO. 196


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Headline Summary
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Sri Lanka pledges to protect civilians in fighting
Associated Press, Sat October 18, 2008 13:39 EDT . KRISHAN FRANCIS - Associated Press Writer - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Sri Lanka - 's president tried to assure India on Saturday that the military campaign against the Tamil Tiger rebels was trying to minimize civilian casualties, amid protests by ethnic Tamils in India who say their people in the neighboring island are being targeted. Sri Lanka - 's Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama also invited India's Extrenal Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee for a visit, the statement said.

The discussion between the two leaders took place amid increasing resentment over Sri Lanka - 's military campaign, in India's southern state of Tamil Nadu, home to some 55 million Tamils who have ancestral links with the Tamils in Sri Lanka - .

According to the United Nations and other humanitarian groups, about 220,000 people have been displaced, as government soldiers push into rebel-held territory seizing rebel bases and large chunks of land.

The government last month expelled aid workers from the rebel-held region but has allowed U.N. food convoys.

Sri Lanka - says the rebels are facing defeat in their 25-year campaign for a separate state for minority Tamils as the government troops inch closer to the insurgents' nerve center Kilinochchi.

Meanwhile the rebels put up stiff resistance Saturday on two fronts against troops trying to advance into Kilinochchi causing casualties on both sides, a military statement said. It did not provide details.

Air force helicopters also bombed one of those resistance points, the military said.

On Friday two soldiers and two Tamil rebels were killed in latest violence in the north and in a popular wildlife park in the southeast, the military said.

Military spokesman Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara said troops recovered the bodies of two guerrillas after several clashes Friday near Kilinochchi. One soldier was killed and four others were wounded in those clashes, he said.

Separately, one soldier died when army units attacked a group of rebels inside the Yala wildlife park in the island's southeast, Nanayakkara said.

India has generally been reluctant to become directly involved in Sri Lanka - 's internal affairs after a disastrous military intervention in the 1980s that led to the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi by a Tamil Tiger suicide bomber in 1991.

But Tamils living in India's Tamil Nadu are concerned about the future of Sri Lanka - 's Tamils. In addition, India's prominence in the region, along with its large Tamil population, means that it plays a powerful diplomatic role in Sri Lanka - .

Sri Lanka - 's civil war, largely concentrated in the ethnic Tamil-majority north and east, has killed more than 70,000 people.

Rebel spokesmen could not be contacted for comment on the military reports because most communication lines to guerrilla-held regions have been severed.Discuss this story
Published: Sat Oct 18 14:19:23 EDT 2008

Mukherjee likely to visit Sri Lanka to discuss Tamil issue, october 18. Colombo, Oct 18 (PTI) External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee is likely to undertake a visit here shortly to discuss the situation arising out of the military offensive in LTTE-held north, sources said today.

The decision in this regard is understood to have been reached during a telephonic conversation between Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today.

The two leaders are believed to have decided that Mukherjee will meet the Sri Lankan leaders here and assess the situation, the sources said.

Rajapaksa, who called up Singh in a bid to allay India's concern over the situation in Sri Lanka, told the Prime Minister that the military operation in the north is "in no way directed against civilians," the sources said. More... Discuss this story
Published: Sat Oct 18 14:39:09 EDT 2008 Back to the top

Sri Lanka: Ruling and opposition parties come together in Tamils ..., October 18. Colombo (PTI): Sri Lanka's main opposition United National Party (UNP) on Saturday threw its weight behind the Rajapaksa government on the Tamil issue, saying "no one else had the right to interfere in the internal affairs of the country."

"As the main opposition party we are extending our unconditional support to the Government in its endeavour to eliminate terrorism," said the Chairman of the UNP Rukman Senanayake, in an apparent reference to calls for cease fire from India. More...Discuss this story
Published: Sat Oct 18 14:20:42 EDT 2008 Back to the top

India, Lanka agree to maintain dialogue at political level, October 18, . Colombo (PTI): Sri Lanka on Saturday said President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh agreed to maintain a dialogue of high political level... Back to the top

Food aid reaches Sri Lanka north, Sat oct 18, 2008. A UN food convoy has reached rebel-held northern Sri Lanka where some 200,000 people have been displaced by fighting... Back to the top

West urged not to ignore Sri Lanka, Friday, October 17, 2008. A senior western diplomat has warned that living conditions are deteriorating for tens of thousands of civilians displaced inside Tamil Tiger rebel-held areas in northern Sri Lanka... Back to the top

FACTBOX-India s role in Sri Lanka s civil war, Friday, Oct 17, 2008. Oct. 17 (Reuters) - India this week criticised Sri Lanka's escalation of its war with the Tamil Tigers, after nearly 40 legislators told Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh they would quit parliament if he didn't stop the conflict in two weeks.

Analysts say India's prior involvement in the 25-year-old Sri Lankan war rules out such an intervention, and will leave Sri Lanka free to prosecute a war it is confident of winning... Back to the top

TN stand on Lanka could endanger India unity: Newspaper, Friday, October 17, 2008. Colombo (PTI): Terming the recent expression of concern by Tamil Nadu parties over the ongoing violence in northern Sri Lanka as a contradiction of India's own policy on terrorism, a leading newspaper here has called it "latent separatist tendencies" in the Southern state... Back to the top

Pipe Down, Please
The Times of India, 18 Oct 2008. The war in Sri Lanka has kicked up a storm in Tamil Nadu. Public opinion in the state seems to have dramatically shifted in favour of the beleag uered Tamils in northern Sri Lanka... Back to the top

Sri Lanka : 2 soldiers, 2 rebels killed in fighting
Associated Press, Sat October 18, 2008 04:03 EDT . COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Two soldiers and two Tamil Tiger rebels were killed in clashes in northern Sri Lanka - and in a popular wildlife park in the southeast, the military said Saturday... Back to the top

Sri Lanka : Army seizes rebel-held village in north
Associated Press, Fri October 17, 2008 03:42 EDT . - - COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - (AP) Sri Lankan soldiers captured a Tamil Tiger-held village along rebel supply routes in the country's embattled north in a battle which killed six guerrillas and two soldiers, the military said Friday... Back to the top

India can intervene in Sri Lanka: Karunanidhi
Thaindian News, Friday, October 17, 2008. Chennai, Oct 17 (IANS) Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi said Friday night that India could certainly intervene in Sri Lanka to alleviate the sufferings of Tamil minorities there, in the same way it did in then East Pakistan in 1971... Back to the top

Spokesperson For The Secretary General Michele Montas Holds Office Of The Spokesman For The U.N. Secretary General Regular News
Associated Press, Fri October 17, 2008 08:28 EDT . In Sri Lanka - this morning, a major U.N. food convoy en route to the north of the island nation was forced to turn back due to fighting... Back to the top

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