[COLOMBO, SinhalaNet 2009.02.28 04:54PM] In an open letter to Senator Robert Casey, Chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Middle East and South Asia, Sri Lankan expatriate Gemunu Lankathilake has told the committee to mind matters pertaining to America, instead of meddling in the affairs of other countries.
Lankathilake has advised the committee not to fall for LTTE propaganda and pointed that some of the so-called innocent civilians trapped in the Tiger held areas are in fact a LTTE-trained civilian ‘volunteer’ force the members of which belong to the Tiger ‘heroes’ families. Most of these ‘heroes’ are suicide cadres who committed acts of terror. The civilian volunteer force provides the LTTE with logistical support in its battles with the Sri Lankan Security Forces. The figures of civilian deaths published by LTTE and pro-Tiger NGOs are not only highly exaggerated but a good number of the ‘victims’ are Tiger terrorists killed in battle.
Lankathilake has reminded Senator Casey a fact he knows only too very well in the light of U.S. experience in Kosovo, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Palestine that to guarantee 100 percent safety of civilians in a conventional war is impossible. In a guerilla type-war that the LTTE has waged against the Sri Lankan State it is even worse. Yet the number of civilian deaths in the Sri Lankan conflict is far less than the U.S.-engineered conflicts in the Middle-East and Afghanistan, say Lakathilake.
He stresses the need for Washington the need to help Sri Lanka to crush terrorism everywhere rather than pontificate on a exaggerated and distorted ‘civilian crisis.’
Saturday, February 28, 2009
[COLOMBO, SinhalaNet 2009.02.28 04:54PM] In an open letter to Senator Robert Casey, Chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Middle East and South Asia, Sri Lankan expatriate Gemunu Lankathilake has told the committee to mind matters pertaining to America, instead of meddling in the affairs of other countries.
Posted by media at 9:49 PM
Mr. Banki Moon – United Nation General Secretary on Sri Lanka Issue
View the Video Clip
Posted by media at 8:27 PM
Statement issued by the Rt Hon the Lord Naseby, Co-Chair of All Part Parliamentry Group on Sri Lanka.
UK Tamil diaspora must bring pressure on the LTTE to release the civilians immediately and lay down their arms
The Rt Hon the Lord Naseby, Co-Chair of All Part Parliamentary Group on Sri Lanka has personally contacted the private office of the Foreign Secretary, the Rt Hon David Miliband about the question asked by Elfyn Llwyd, MP on Tuesday 24th Feb. 2009 in which Elfyn Llwyd, MP stated "Some of the signals coming from the Sri Lanka Govt. imply that they are quite prepared to go ahead with acts of genocide".
The Foreign Secretary's private office stated that the response made by the Foreign Secretary was in no way intended to agree with the statement on 'genocide' made by Elfyn Llwyd, MP and should not be interpreted as such by the LTTE and its supporters.
Lord Naseby believes it to be imperative that the LTTE respond to requests from EU and the Co-chairs to release the civilians immediately and lay down their arms. In Addition, the British Govt. need to make clear to UK Tamil diaspora that they too must bring pressure to bear on the LTTE; Tamil Tigers.
27th February 2009
Rt Hon the Lord Naseby
House of Lords
Posted by media at 8:11 PM
Numerous 19-foot containers of the INGOs, sent to Tamil-Tiger areas shortly after the Tsunami, were not returned, and the relevant INGOs never questioned nor did the freight companies complained. Now it is clear why – they were used by the LTTE to construct subterranean bunker systems. The LTTE has used those containers also as components for cleverly disguised plane hangars. Seven landing strips, constructed using the most modern western know-how, were also found.
55 electricity generators from Sweden, intended for use in hospitals in and around Jaffna, were found in the deserted shelters of the LTTE-Tigers, withdrawing under the Sri Lankan offensive. These generators were sufficient to supply the whole population of the north with electricity – instead they supplied the fighting units of the LTTE. Tiger leader Velupilai Prabhakaran, suffering from diabetes, not only had a hospital constructed especially for him in one of the headquarters, as well as ordering a bullet-proof vehicle to be constructed for him use, which has also been discovered. For the refurbishing of the vehicle, special metal sheets were used that had been ordered by one of the INGOs for the purported purpose of reconstructing destroyed bridges in the north.
Thus at least indirectly the INGOs can not reject the bitter accusation of having prolonged the war. Without vehicles and sufficient gasoline, for instance, the mobility of the remaining LTTE cadres would have been significantly reduced. The bunkers they built, the trenches they constructed for kilometers, and that made the agonizingly long static warfare necessary – without the construction equipment left to the LTTE by the INGOs, they would not have been there. Without the construction equipment, the destruction of some water tanks would not have been possible – the LTTE tried to prevent the progress of the troops with those drastic means – and without scruples put up with their own fellow Tamils, drowning miserably.
But while even more areas are taken by the security forces, something else becomes clear – not only based on the pictures published by the military, one asks himself amazedly what exactly these INGOs have really been doing all those years in the north, in the areas occupied by the LTTE.
Concretely – what have they done with the internationally collected funds, the many millions of donations in the name of humanitarian assistance? How much of it did they actually spend in Sri Lanka? And where exactly and for what exactly? These questions are self-serving not only for the advancing soldiers of the Sri Lankan army, as for them to see there is – nothing.
In the coastal areas of the now liberated areas it still looks like shortly after the tsunami. Whole villages are still living under blue UN canvas cover. The gruelling 25 year-long war, the killer waves of December 2004 and the final realization that the LTTE is actually not the high-handedly proclaimed “Liberation Army”, as it always liked to pose as, but is, in the recent misery of being crushingly defeated, uncovered as being a mean gang of criminals, keeping with brutal armed violence the people they pretend to fight for as human shields between themselves and their sure destruction..............
It also seems like certain INGOs - specially from Germany - are trying to lay the ground work to bring certain Sri Lankan government officials and keyplayers to international courts under the violations of international human rights. Then however, if this is the case, the same international courts should also examine how far the INGOs have overstepped their humanitarian mandate and supported the existence of a terrorist organisation which has led Sri Lanka to this gruesome war killing thousands. And why are these INGOs not talking about the human rights violations of the LTTE ?
After all the law is equal for all, isn’t it?
There is no better way to exhibit to the whole world how Sri Lanka is under subtle and effective form of terrorism and chauvinistic racism from the so-called western humanitarian INGOs.
Read the Full Story
Posted by media at 7:49 PM
With the security forces closing in on the LTTE for the final blow, the government yesterday cautioned the public to be on the alert for possible attempts by the desperate terrorists to wreak havoc in the South.
Non-Cabinet Media Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena told a news conference that the LTTE leadership was so desperate it used two of their colonels on a suicide air raid in Colombo last Friday.
Mr. Abeywardena said the government’s humanitarian operations were nearing completion, and requested the people to be on the look out for possible LTTE strikes in the south at this stage.
“We request the people to be vigilant when travelling in buses and trains, and also at public places. If they notice anything suspicious, the security authorities should be promptly informed,” he said. He said during the past several weeks the military had found large hauls of ammunition and other war equipment belonging to the LTTE.
“Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said the LTTE could have created mayhem of unprecedented proportions in the country had the government delayed the humanitarian operations for another few years. Now we all know what he said was quite true,” said the Minister.
“Some of the deadly weapons stored by the Tigers were discovered by the military. May be, the Tigers did not know how to operate them. There was a weapon with the capacity to hit a target located as far as 27 kilometres. Besides, there was also one of the most modern electricity generators among the items seized from the terrorists,” he said.
He said, “These matters should be made known to the people. Had the government delayed the Mavil Aru operation, there would have been nothing left for us to talk about today. At that time, some elements criticized the JHU for their attempt to open the Mavil Aru sluice gates closed by the LTTE. Anyway, the JHU attempt was an encouragement for the security forces.”
Meanwhile, the Minister also thanked the European Union comprising 32 countries for asking the LTTE to lay down arms. He said even UN Under-secretary for Humanitarian Affairs Sir John Homes had hailed the manner in which the government was handling the issues of the internally displaced citizens.
Posted by media at 7:45 PM
Heavy fighting is continuing between troops of the 55 Div and LTTE in South of Chalai as troops successfully breached the LTTE forward defences and advanced across the Puthumathalan earth bund today (Feb 28) after hours of intense fighting that broke out since Friday(27) evening.
According to latest battlefront reports, LTTE terrorists have continued directing 120mm heavy mortar and 122 artillery fire towards military, from positions identified well inside the declared 'No Fire Zone' at Mullaittivu. Troops while avoiding retaliatory fire, out maneuvered LTTE resistance fire pushing further into enemy territory, the sources further said. At least 13 terrorists were confirmed killed and twice as many reported injured during the confrontations that drew Soosai, Laxman and few other LTTE senior cadres from their jungle hideouts at Puthukkudiyirippu. According to intercepted LTTE communication these senior terrorists were continuously appealing the ground leaders to prolong the military advances at any cost fearing a rapid fall of the rear LTTE defences.
Earlier, on Friday troops thwarted an LTTE offensive attempt in the coast of Puthumathalan, reportedly destroying 4 LTTE attack craft also leaving scores of terrorists injured. The entire area is heavily mined by the LTTE what ground sources refer to as the only existing obstacle prolonging the military incursion.
Posted by media at 7:38 PM
Influence Tigers to let civilians go" - Sir John Holmes: Sri Lanka not on UNSC Agenda
United Nations, New York. 28 February (Asiantribune.com): At the conclusion of the U.S. Secretary General’s Special Representative for Humanitarian Affairs Sir. John Holms many ambassadors representing other countries were unanimous that the LTTE is now defeated and that it should lay down the arms and release all trapped civilians to move to Sri Lanka government declared safe zones.
Here are some of the comments the ambassadors provided to the press corps after the Security Council session that discussed Sri Lanka:
The Russian Ambassador Vitaly I. Churkin was categorical in saying that the today’s briefing is a onetime affair and that it will not go beyond that. This is an internal situation against a terrorist group which the Government is trying to handle through military and political means.
Observers say that the LTTE lobbyist’s attempt to get UN Security Council to give them further breathing space through a ceasefire failed to materialize. The LTTE has only to blame itself for holding civilians hostage and shooting the very people who were trying to flee to freedom. The Government on the other hand seems to have scored by expanding its cooperation and assistance through the UN, ICRC and by the action of the armed forces who took extraordinary measures of restraint and precaution to minimize civilian casualties while taking more casualties among its ranks.
Q: What is Russia’s position on Sri Lanka situation in Security Council?
A: This is an internal conflict that has been there for sometime and it is coming to an end now. It is not on the agenda of the Security Council. Therefore, today’s briefing we think is one time affair and it will not go beyond that. There is no proposal for it to be put on the agenda.
Mr. Le Luong Minh, Ambassador of Viet Nam said It is a legitimate Government fighting a terrorist group.
Mr. Thomas Mayr-Harting, Ambassador of Austria "The Security Force activity in Sri Lanka is against terrorist organization conducted by an elected Government. However, international humanitarian law must be respected by both sides. The Sri Lanka delegation briefed the Council Members at a meeting held at the Mission of Japan in New York where Mr. Akashi too provided information and it outlined action being taken regarding humanitarian matters."
Sir John Sawers., Ambassador of UK "LTTE is a terrorist organization proscribed by many countries including the UK. They are cornered and under pressure and the solution to the current situation is the LTTE laying down arms and allowing civilians to freely move and for political process begin.
"We have received an interesting briefing from Sir John Holmes. The IDP situation in transit camps are not as concerning as once feared. The problem is those trapped by the LTTE. UN Secretary General and his team can continue to remain engaged in this humanitarian situation and assist the process. The United Kingdom was in favour of receiving a briefing on Sri Lanka humanitarian aspect but the UK has a clear position that Sri Lanka is not on the agenda of the Security Council and it is not that kind of situation and the briefing was therefore received informally under other matters."
Mr. Yukio Takasu, Ambassador of Japan and President of the Security Council: "Sri Lanka is not on the Security Council agenda and there was no decision on the discussion or on that matter. The occasion was to get a briefing and there was no other formal decision. There are serious concerns about the plight of the IDPs and those that are trapped by the LTTE.
"One has to understand the nature of the conflict and it is clear that the Government is combating a group of people, the LTTE who are described as terrorist organization by many countries and banned as such.
"It was acknowledged that Government of Sri Lanka is taking a lot of precautions to minimize casualties. However, there are reports of great deal of suffering and casualties. It is well known that LTTE is firing from behind civilians and it is hoped that the Government will continue to exercise maximum restrain.
"A strong focus should be on Tamil Tigers as they are not allowing civilians to go to safety, freely in Government controlled areas. There were reports that the LTTE has attacked and killed their own people trying to free themselves and go to government areas including a report about child suicide bombers being sent. They are also putting obstacles in the way of supplies and evacuations. Tigers should lay down arms to bring this conflict to an end.
"Secretary General Under Secretary General can remain engaged with the Government and cooperation offered by the Government is appreciated. LTTE military actions in the safe zone should stop. The Government has given assurances that 80 percent of the IDPs will go back within the shortest possible time and that strategy of the Government makes sense.
"Difficult to compare Sri Lanka with other situations e.g. Dafur situation in Sudan is a case of threat to international peace and security. Sri Lanka is clearly not such a situation and members recognized that and Sri Lanka is not on the agenda. And we appreciate Government’s openness in providing information."
Source: Asian Tribune
Posted by media at 7:31 PM
Stewart Bell, National Post
TORONTO -- Canadian officials acknowledged on Friday that they helped bring a "dangerous" gang member to Toronto from South Asia this week, two days before the government unveiled its new anti-gang strategy.
Panchalingam Nagalingam, who was deported in 2005 because of his involvement in a violent Toronto street gang, arrived back on Tuesday morning, and Canadian officials say they facilitated and paid for his return. The circumstances have one official lamenting that the government is "in the business of putting gangs and gangsters out of business, not in bringing them back to Canada."
Police were furious on Friday and immigration officials were at pains to explain why the government had paid to fly a gang member, once charged with hacking two people in the head with a meat cleaver, back to Canada more than three years after he was deported to his native Sri Lanka.
A spokesman for Jason Kenney, the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, said the government was outraged that it was forced to return Mr. Nagalingam to Canada because of a legal agreement entered into by the previous Liberal government.
The Ministry of Justice agreed in December, 2005, that it would allow Mr. Nagalingam to return to Toronto if the courts ever overturned a decision that found he was a danger to the public, officials said. The Federal Court of Appeal did just that in April, 2008, ruling that the judge who decided Mr. Nagalingam's case had made a procedural mistake.
Canadian officials started discussions about Mr. Nagalingan's return to Toronto last June, after he went to the Canadian High Commission in Colombo and said he feared for his safety. He was given a temporary residency permit in January that allowed him to enter Canada, but it was cancelled upon his arrival at Pearson Airport.
"We are very disappointed by the outcome of the court's decision. And we are outraged that we are forced, because of a legal agreement negotiated by the previous Liberal government, to return this dangerous individual to Canada," said Alykhan Velshi, Mr. Kenney's spokesman.
"The agreement made under the previous Liberal government was not required by law and is very unusual; however they made it anyway and, sadly, we are bound by it." He added that "because of the Liberals' agreement which we were legally bound to implement, we unfortunately had to pay for his return flight."
"Since being returned to Canada, Nagalingam has been held in detention, where we will strenuously argue that he should remain," he added.
A 36-year-old Sri Lankan citizen, Mr. Nagalingam was a member of AK Kannan, one of two warring Tamil gangs that engaged in extortion, drug trafficking, weapons dealing, attempted murder and murder in Toronto. The gangs were responsible for dozens of shootings, one of which killed an innocent bystander at a doughnut shop.
At an Immigration and Refugee Board hearing on Thursday, an immigration official read a police statement that said Mr. Nagalingam had been identified as a gunman in an unsolved shooting in Scarborough in 2000 that left two teenagers dead. He had also smashed a chair over the head of a man at a community function and assaulted a security guard at a theatre, the official said. On two occasions, Mr. Nagalingam was shot at by rival gang members.
"Nagalingam has demonstrated that he will not hesitate to use violence, and he has challenged rival gang members in public settings," the official said, reading a statement by the Toronto Police Service.
"This individual in my opinion is a recipe for yet another disaster on the streets of Toronto. He is a danger to the citizens of Canada and should not be allowed to stay in Canada."
Mr. Nagalingam thanked God and the immigration department "for helping me to get back here" and said he had turned over a new leaf. "I have a child outside, I have my mother and father. I decided to start my life again.
"Immigration states here I am a danger to the Tamil community," he added. "Won't I get a chance for me to reform, to start my life again? That's all I ask for."
The Refugee Board ordered him detained on the grounds he is a danger to the public and a flight risk. In the meantime, the government has already commenced proceedings to have him deported once again. He was to appear before the Board again next Thursday.
Mr. Nagalingam first arrived in Canada in 1994 and was accepted as a refugee the following year. But Toronto police quickly identified him as an AK Kannan gang member. He has three criminal convictions but he has faced other charges that were dropped.
For example, in 1998, he was charged with assault with a weapon after he allegedly struck two rival gang members in the head with a meat cleaver. Police arrived at the scene and "did see the accused attempting to strike several other persons with the meat cleaver, before he like the others began to flee," but the victims could not be found and the charges were stayed.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced new legislation to fight gang violence on Thursday. Justice Minister Rob Nicholson said the government would "take tough, responsible action to make our streets and communities safer and more secure."
Source: National Post
Posted by media at 7:23 PM
The Editor of the Tamil daily Sudaroli N. Vidyakaran was arrested, by the Terrorist Investigation Division yesterday morning while at a funeral of a relation, at a parlour in Mount Lavinia.
Five policemen, two in uniform and three in civvies arrived in a white van and took him away to the bewilderment of his kith and kin.
Vidyakaran had first resisted arrest but was forced into the van by the policemen.
His brother-in-law E. Sarawanabhavan has lodged a complaint with the Mount Lavinia Police. Sarawanabhavan is the Chairman of Mass Media Syndicate, publishers of the Jaffna based Udayan and Sudaroli newspapers printed in Colombo.
Though it was first suspected that he had been kidnapped in one of those notorious white vans episodes, it was later confirmed that the arrest had been legitimate and made by the TID.
However the TID sleuths who arrested him, instead of taking him to the TID office had taken him to Dematagoda and handed him over to the Colombo Crime Division.
Police sources said that the Terrorist Investigation Unit, in its investigations into last Friday night’s LTTE raid in the city, had suspected that Vidyakaran had prior knowledge of the impending raid.
Viyakaran was being questioned by the CCD at the time of going to press and no further details were available.
Minister of Mass Media Lakshman Yapa Abeywrdena said that the arrest had been made due to certain security concerns.
A decision would be taken on whether to prosecute or free him only after investigations were complete. He said the media would be kept informed.
Posted by media at 12:38 PM
National Freedom Front (NFF) leader MP Wimal Weerawansa yesterday said that they would commence a world wide protest against international organizations, if they push for a Ceasefire. His warning followed the UN head Ban Ki - Moon’s recent statement on Sri Lanka that Government and the LTTE should go for a Ceasefire until civilians move to the safe areas.
Weerawansa told a press conference held at NFF headquarters that if the government had stopped operations the LTTE would never release civilians in their hands. If they wanted to protect civilians, they should force LTTE to release them and allow them to cross to cleared areas first.
"The LTTE has carried out attacks on fleeing civilians in several times recently. They attacked these innocent Tamil civilians while claiming they are the sole agent of the Tamil people. Now, Tamil people are realizing the LTTE leader Prabhakaran is the only enemy of Tamil people here. They are surprised by the government’s hospitality at the welfare centres in Wanni," Weerawansa said.
Posted by media at 12:36 PM
We have in this country some kind of toads (gembas) which love to live indoor. Even if they are swept out, they land facing the houses where they have lived. Humans are also said to have animalistic traits. They have foxes and lions among them. Similarly, there are gembas in the diplomatic community. These ambassadorial gembas cannot wean themselves from Sri Lankan affairs even after they retire.
Former US Ambassador in Colombo Jeffrey Lunstead giving evidence before a US Senate Sub Committee on Sri Lanka the other day proposed that donors slap tough aid conditions on Sri Lanka to make her capitulate to the diktats of the international community in resolving her conflict. A few weeks ago, some other ex-US envoys who had served here issued a statement severely critical of Sri Lanka thus lending their voice to the terrorist lobby working overtime to bail out the LTTE.
Even a child with a decent education will find gaping holes in Lunstead's presentation to the Senate Sub Committee. His arguments are not backed by facts and he must have been swayed by the INGO fraternity pulling for the separatists. The less said about the Human Rights Watch submissions, the better. We only hope that the US Senate will do its own research without going by hearsay in drawing conclusions on the situation in Sri Lanka.
Some US lawmakers are making a song and dance about the humanitarian situation in the North of Sri Lanka, where a war on terror is being fought. Is the US really concerned about the human cost of war? One may find the answer in a comment a US Secretary of State (Madeleine Albright) made in 1996 in an interview with CBS television on the Iraqi invasion:
Interviewer (Lesley Stahl): "We have heard that half a million children have died. I mean, that's more than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?
Albright: I"I think this is a very hard choice, but the price, we think is worth it."
So much for America's concern for civilians caught in a war! (President Lincoln, whose ruthless military campaign to prevent America's disintegration left over 600,000 people dead, became a national hero!)
Why is it that the so-called crusaders against global terrorism are all out to scuttle Sri Lanka's effort to defeat a terrorist outfit which has been banned in many countries in the West? They seem to think that Sri Lanka alone will benefit from her war on terror. Nothing could be further from the truth! It is in this country that a breakthrough in the world's war on terror is being made. The outfit being beaten has been described as the most ruthless terrorist group in the world.
When a tiny nation––which receives zero military assistance from the US, as Lunstead told the Senate Sub Committee––breaks the back of a mighty terrorist group backed by lawmakers in the UK, the US, Canada and India, terrorists the world over will get a shocking message: Terrorism is no longer an intractable phenomenon and the civilised world is capable of removing the scourge of mindless terror.
The SLBC yesterday said that Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa had said if there had been a delay of six months in taking on the LTTE, Sri Lanka would have been destroyed.
One could not agree with him more. The LTTE had brought all the key military installations in the North and the East within its artillery range taking cover behind a CFA from 2002 to 2005. It had located heavy guns south of Trincomalee to wreak havoc on the Trinco harbour and render it nonoperational, while pounding the Palali airstrip simultaneously.
In such an eventuality, about 30,000 troops, left without supplies, would have been in the same predicament as the LTTE trapped in Puthukudiyiruppu at present.
Had the LTTE got six more months, it would have launched its submarines thus posing a grave threat to all the vital sea routes in the Indian Ocean; narcotics trade and gun running would have flourished in the region. A few years ago, it may be recalled, the US Coast Guard intercepted a submersible an LTTE activist used to smuggle narcotics. The world battling the Somali pirates who loot anything that float would have had another problem.
India had to tighten air defences at power stations and military bases in the South because of the LTTE's crude air capability and it would have had to deploy a fleet of submarines to tackle the LTTE submersibles.
The million dollar question is why on earth the LTTE plunged the country into war without buying some more time? There could have been several reasons for Prabhakaran's hasty decision to resume hostilities. As water is to fish so is war to blood thirsty terrorists. Absence of war leads to their demoralisation and subsequent disintegration of a terrorist group. Prabhakaran therefore may have started Eelam War IV. He was also overconfident as he had scored a crushing victory over the army at Elephant Pass and he may have thought President Rajapaksa would fight the war they way his predecessors had done without making it to the Vanni. A desire to avoid pressure the international community brought to bear on him to agree to devolution in keeping with the Oslo Declaration may have prompted him to telescope his Eelam project. His failing health could also have been a reason; he may have been in a hurry to achieve his goal.
Whatever the reason, Prabhakaran did democracy a big favour by making a monumental military miscalculation and thereby having his terror empire dismantled within less than two and a half years. He has also exposed the underground secessionist movement in Tamil Nadu.
Ambassadorial twerps––both retired and serving––and others of their ilk marketing human rights to make a living should realise that Sri Lanka is not fighting a war for the fun of it. She is fighting to protect democracy and her territorial integrity. The winner from her war will be the civilised world. Terrorism and human rights, they must be told, can never coexist.
Posted by media at 12:33 PM
By H. L. D. Mahindapala
(February 27 , Melbourne, Sri Lanka Guardian) Pressure is mounting at the UN to put the humanitarian crisis in Mullativu – the last outpost of the Tamil Tigers -- on the agenda of the Security Council. The objective is to get the Security Council to call for a ceasefire. Pro-Tiger NGOs and lobbies, and also the noted Mathew R. Lee, the only blogger given accreditation at UN, (more about him later) are button holing delegates and urging them to put Sri Lanka on the Security Council agenda at today’s meeting.
Sri Lanka is waging a strenuous battle in the labyrinthine corridors of international power, to stave off any UN intervention or censure. Early in February Mexico, a new comer to the Security Council, asked the Council to be briefed on Sri Lanka. Russia stepped in and said that it would be improper. Russia, however, added that it could be raised at the General Assembly. The Japanese Ambassador, Ukio Takasi, the current President of the Security Council, also said earlier that “at the moment there is no strong request” for the Council to be briefed on the Sri Lankan issue, according to Mathew Lee who questioned Takasi. In any case, in early February the general consensus was to await the return of Sri John Holmes from his Sri Lankan tour. Even the British Ambassador to UN, John Sawers, did not back the Mexican delegate even though Britain was pressing Sri Lanka to accept Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s Browne as a special envoy to Sri Lanka.
The British failure to back the Mexican move was also raised in the House of Commons. Replying to Mr. Edward Davey (Kingston and Surbiton) (LD)) who asked why Britain didn’t back the Mexican delegate at the UN, the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs , David Miliband told the House of Commons: “ I am sorry to hear the hon. Gentleman talk in that way, because he knows that a failed resolution—one that faces a veto—is worse than no resolution at all, and it would strengthen precisely the forces that he and I oppose. I can assure him that our diplomats, whether in New York or in the region, are all working off the same script, which is one that has been set by the Prime Minister and me.”
Sri Lanka has played his card straight by placing the hard facts before the key delegates. Sri Lanka is also backed by Russia and China. Their veto power is going to be the trump card. Russia and China have been protective of Sri Lanka’s interests. Their supportive stance arises partly from their own global interests and partly from separatist threats to their respective nations.
The influential role of Russia was echoed even in the House of Commons as seen in the following question and answer: Mike Gapes (Ilford, South) (Lab/Co-op): Can the Foreign Secretary confirm that the problem in the Security Council is not the UK Government, but the Russian Government, who refuse to support the Security Council resolution? Therefore, unlike in Gaza, we are unable to get the Security Council resolution that is so needed.
David Miliband: There certainly is a blockage at the UN. That is why the UN has not been able to opine on this issue.
The Security Council is expected to take up the issue today but it is unlikely to succeed. Mathew Lee’s Inter City Press quoted President Takaso of saying that the “humanitarian issue in Sri Lanka is played up by the Tamil Tigers for political benefit.”
Having failed to get at Sri Lanka through foreign offices of Western countries the NGOs and the pro-Tiger lobbies are trying desperately to push their luck through the UN. Sri Lanka’s quiet diplomacy has worked to block the aggressive lobbying to get the humanitarian issue on the Council’s agenda.The pro-Tiger lobbies and NGOs have mounted a massive campaign, both inside and outside the UN, hiring agents on sale like Bruce Fei(g)n, former Attorney-General who argued the case for the Sri Lankan when he was on its pay roll and now arguing for the Tamil Tigers who are paying him handsomely for his services to argue against his own case he put up for Sri Lanka.
President Mahinda Rajapakse’s bold move to reject the Prime Minister Brown’s special envoy is a necessary strategic move that has serious implications for the future domestic and foreign policies of Sri Lanka. Though Brown’s move has some inklings of a superior tone of an ex-colonial master knowing what is best for the natives the issue goes deeper. It is a clash of two domestic interests surfacing as foreign policies. Britain is reacting primarily to its Tamil electorate. The debate in the House Commons demonstrates this amply. Every MP, mainly in the Labour Party and the Liberal Democratic Party, are raising issues in the House, to make them visible in the eyes of the Tamil voters. Invariably when these MPs raise the Sri Lankan issue in the House of Commons they cite the exaggerated complaints made to them by the Tamil voters. The pro-Tigers manipulators in the Tamil diaspora, are using this political clout to put pressure on the Sri Lankan government through their local MPs. This gives them the false notion that they can dictate their pro-Tiger policies to Sri Lanka through the foreign offices in London, Canberra, Washington etc. President Rajapakse’s rejection is a clear signal to the Tamil diaspora that they can’t dictate to Sri Lanka through foreign offices in the countries of their domicile.
Non-Tamil Sri Lankans in the diaspora are quite pleased with the decisive move of President Rajapakse to nip the budding pressures of the Tamil disapora and the NGOs by manipulating Western powers. They believe that the message should have been sent earlier.
President Rajapakse’s rejection of Brown’s Browne is a slap in the face not so much of Britain as in the faces of the manipulative NGOs and Tamil diaspora. The NGOs and the Tamil diaspora depend entirely on influencing Sri Lankan domestic policy by manipulating their political bases abroad. In his timely action President Rajapakse has stood up for the interests of all communities and not just that of one armed group terrorizing all communities, mostly the Tamils.
In the meantime, a new phenomenon against Sri Lanka has emerged at the UN -- Mathew R. Lee of the Inter City Press. As an accredited media representative he holds a unique position: he is only a blogger with no leading newspaper establishment to back him. He does not have to worry about newsprint, staff, printing presses and other administrative expenses. He is the one-man band who is bent on pushing the UN to dance to his tune. The accreditation given to him has given him access to UN delegates and officials. He has been badgering the delegates to the Security Council UN officials, the Secretary –General, Ban Ki-Moon and his officials questioning them as to why Sri Lanka has not been put on the Security Council agenda. He feels frustrated because the general consensus is that Sri Lanka is not in the same category of other crisis-ridden trouble spots.
Lee, however, argues that Sri Lanka should be listed because Darfur and Congo have been on the Security Council agenda. John Sawers, the British Ambassador, put him in his place when he said that he was comparing apples with oranges. His partisan line of questioning has been so transparent that it is easy see through from where he comes. Obviously, the NGOs and the Tamil lobbies are feeding him with pictures and one-sided stories which he peddles without any qualm.
-Sri Lanka Guardian
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United Nations, 28 February, (Asiantribune.com): "All those with any influence with LTTE should now persuade the Tigers to let the civilian population go," the Humanitarian Coordinator Sir John Holmes appealed at the UN Security Council briefing on his visit to Sri Lanka at the invitation of President Rajapaksa.
Sir John said that "conditions of the civilian population is dire and despite the Government’s efforts to provide relief supplies. There is no time to lose and the LTTE must now let the civilian people go".
He appealed to the diaspora and others who can influence the LTTE to force them to free the Tamil civilians to go into cleared areas.
Following the briefing, the Security Council did not consent to the LTTE’s attempt to get another ceasefire but many Security Council Ambassadors who spoke to the media insisted that LTTE should lay down arms.
They also asked the Government forces to exercise maximum restraint and increase cooperation with international agencies to improve what was described as current reasonable conditions in the transit camps for Tamil people who have already fled the fighting.
The intransigence of the Tigers came in for strong criticism by Security Council President Japan and members like Turkey, United Kingdom, United States as well as the European countries like France, Croatia etc.
Japan which holds the Presidency of the Security Council told reporters that LTTE being a terrorist organization banned in many countries should stop killing and preventing civilians from reaching safety. Security Council members said that the issue is Sri Lanka’s internal problem and will not be on the Agenda of the Council.
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Colombo, 28 February, (Asiantribune.com): Sri Lanka Army’s 58 Division commanded by Brigadier Shavindra Silva’s troops have advance deep into the Puthukkudiyiruppu built- up area from North west, East and South amidst heavy resistance forthcoming from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam – the terrorists outfit.
Troops belonging to the 58 Divisions also recovered sensitive electronic equipments which confirmed roles played by Tamil Nadu political leaders and televisions owned and run by elites belonging to Tamil Nadu political hierarchy to bifurcate Sri Lanka and make the so called Tamil Eelam, a satellite state of India.
According to sources in the Army’s 58 Division the LTTE is now confined to less than 58 square km (22 sq miles) and are being pushed toward a 12-km no-fire zone on the Indian Ocean island's northeastern coast where tens of thousands of people fleeing fighting and have taken refuge.
While Troops consolidated their position, in the search operations conducted by 11(SLLI) Lt Colonel Kithsiri Ekanayake and his troops were able to locate LTTE’s High-Tec Communication Center, which was according to those empty air condition ducts found in the walls of the building in the premises, was earlier, fully air conditioned.
However, the LTTE has removed all the air condition equipments on their withdrawal, but left behind all the sensitive electronic satellite gadgets and equipments.
Read More: Asiantribune
Posted by media at 6:03 AM
The army is advancing carefully, to minimize their casualties, and those of the many Tamil civilians
The War Is Far From Over
February 26, 2009: The government expects the fighting in the north to go on another four or five weeks. The army is advancing carefully, to minimize their casualties, and those of the many Tamil civilians the LTTE are using for human shields. There are also LTTE booby traps and mines to worry about.
The government has a serious problem with the 36,000 Tamil civilians who have managed to escape from LTTE control in the north. The government knows, from experience in defeating LTTE control of eastern Sri Lanka two years ago, that many LTTE members will go underground and continue to carry out terrorist attacks on civilians and the government. It's estimated that at least one percent of the LTTE Tamil refugees in the north are LTTE members. The refugees have reported that the LTTE asked the civilians to stay behind and "die with us." The LTTE kept trying to persuade military age civilians, and especially teenagers, to take up arms and join the fight. So the government is keeping the refugees in guarded camps, and screening them before releasing them. Some of the civilians are cooperating, and identifying LTTE members.
Military intelligence efforts have found that the LTTE arms smugglers are still trying to obtain surface-to-air missiles. The retreating LTTE up north are also burying large quantities of weapons, including some as large as 122mm howitzers, for later retrieval. Apparently the LTTE plans to revert to guerrilla warfare and terrorism, until it can again control territory and take on the army in conventional combat. The LTTE leaders trapped up north appear ready to die fighting, or escape into the civilian population, to continue the fight. This is already happening the east, but appears to be controllable. What is less easy to handle is the infighting among Tamils. The LTTE achieved its predominance in the Tamil community by murdering and terrorizing Tamils who opposed them. More of the same can be expected once the LTTE losses its fiefdom in the north. Meanwhile, the LTTE enjoys a lot of support among expatriate Tamils, and Tamils in southern India. The war is far from over.
February 24, 2009: In the north, troops captured the village of Puthukudiyiruppu, and reduced rebel held territory to 66 square kilometers. Another LTTE fortified camp was captured, as well as a large cache of weapons.
February 22, 2009: The LTTE now control only 73 square kilometers of jungle long the northeast coast. There are still 70,000 civilians in that area, most of them held there by force, or fear of what LTTE gunmen will do if flight is attempted. Some 35,000 Tamil civilians have already fled LTTE control. The Sri Lankan Air Force believes that the LTTE air force is gone for good, after ten sorties against government targets. The LTTE air attacks were mostly for propaganda, they had no impact on the military campaign against the LTTE.
February 21, 2009: In the east, a group of LTTE gunmen entered a village and killed 21 Sinhalese civilians, most of them women and children. Up north, the LTTE released pictures of the pilots of yesterdays air raid on the capital. The two pilots were on a suicide mission, and their targets were air force facilities, which they failed to reach. In addition to themselves, the suicide pilots killed two people on the ground, and wounded 58. Most of the casualties were civilians.
February 20, 2009: At night, two LTTE single engine aircraft attacked the capital. One was shot down, while the other was hit by anti-aircraft fire, but managed to crash into a government building, killing two people inside, and wounding many more. Both aircraft had only the pilot in them. Advancing army troops had found several LTTE airfields, but none of the small LTTE aircraft. It is believed that one more of these aircraft are out there, either hidden, or in the 87 square kilometers of territory the LTTE still controls in the north. In that area, troops captured the village of Ampalavanpokkani, as well as a well hidden three level bunker complex.
Posted by media at 1:43 AM
GENEVA (Reuters) - Up to 85,000 civilians trapped in northeastern Sri Lanka could flee the war zone in coming weeks as the army closes in on rebel-held territory, the United Nations refugee agency said on Friday.
The Sri Lankan government has allocated 300 acres of land where the UNHCR can receive up to 42,000 people by the end of next week, spokesman William Spindler said, citing the need to double the space to accommodate uprooted people in the region.
Aid agencies estimate 200,000 people are trapped in a narrow 12-km (7.5-mile) war zone on the northeastern coast, where the military has boxed in the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebels.
"Given the magnitude of the civilian population still trapped inside the LTTE-held territory and expected to flee into government-controlled areas as military operations advance further, UNHCR has requested the government of Sri Lanka to provide another 300 acres to bring the total potential reception capacity to 85,000 persons," Spindler told a news briefing.
Some 36,000 displaced Sri Lankans have already fled to government-controlled areas of Vavuniya and Jaffna, according to the U.N.'s World Food Programme (WFP), which delivered 40 metric tonnes of food by tugboat to the northern government-designated safe zone in the Vanni area on Thursday. It was its first delivery in six weeks after WFP land convoys were interrupted by the fighting on January 16, WFP spokeswoman Emilia Casella said. The agency hopes to deliver up to 300 metric tonnes of food per week, she said.
Posted by media at 1:32 AM
Tim Fish, IHS Jane’s maritime reporter
London (27th February 2009) – Tim Fish, IHS Jane’s maritime reporter, visited Sri Lanka in January to examine the Sri Lanka Navy’s contribution to the defeat by government forces of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) – a contribution that has been almost completely ignored by western media outlets.
In a feature for Jane’s Navy International, Tim Fish reports: “ Bringing the conflict to a conclusion after 30 years of war would not have been possible without the Sri Lanka Navy (SLN)”.
In order to counter the LTTE and its Sea Tiger cadres, the SLN developed three categories of small craft and associated warfighting tactics as part of a Small Boats Concept, which was a major turning point in the progress of the war against the separatist organisation. The Small Boats Concept effectively copied the Sea Tigers’ asymmetric tactics, but on a much larger scale.
With rudimentary shipbuilding facilities, Sri Lanka manufactured 150 or more of these small Inshore Patrol Craft (IPCs) and employed them in infantry-style tactics to gain the ascendancy over swarms of Sea Tiger attack craft and suicide boats.
However, as well as operating in littoral waters, the SLN proved that it could also take the fight to the LTTE far over the horizon, sinking eight warehouse ships up to 2,000 n miles from Sri Lanka.
Tim Fish says that other navies would do well to study the SLN’s modus operandi, in particular its development of strategies for defeating a modern four-dimensional insurgent group employing asymmetric tactics on land, in the air, on the seas and underwater.
“Internationally, maritime terrorism is a new threat that is developing in the Indian Ocean,” Fish writes. “While the conflict with the LTTE is approaching its conclusion, the application to extend Sri Lanka ’s Exclusive Economic Zone and the discovery of oil resources means that the SLN will play a vital role in the reunified country’s future maritime strategy.”
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Friday, February 27, 2009
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Beautiful and rare migrant birds such as the European Cuckoo, the Hanging Lorakeet, White Bellied Drongo, Chrimson Backed Woodpecker, Jordon Chlorophies, Blackheaded Oriole, Palm Squirrel and wagtails are currently seen in Nuwara Eliya.
Several other bird species are also seen in the Kotmale and Pundaluoya areas and they mostly frequent the Meddecumbra and Eaton estate areas, where even two leopard cubs were seen by the estate workers recently.
The unique feature of the Lorokeet which enjoys the drinking sweet toddy on Kitul trees tapped by villagers.
A number of local and foreign bird watchers are seen frequenting these areas.
According to naturalist Lal de Silva, some of these species have come into the hillcountry after a lapse of several decades owing to the prevailing dry weather conditions.
The inland migration has started with the arrival of the white bellied eagles, the Brahmin kites and the Gray Heron. According to Clive Tissera, a veteran planter and a keen bird watcher, these rare bird species will stay till April.
Posted by media at 10:34 PM
A fortnight after the earlier court hearing of the Golden Key Credit Card Co. Ltd., yesterday the Mount Lavinia Magistrate Court ordered to remand the Ceylinco Consolidation Founder Chairman Dr. Lalith Kotelawala till March 7 over the misappropriation of Rupees 26 billion of deposits of the Golden Key Credit Card Company. This happened to be Sri Lanka’s largest ever financial fraud which even exceeded the value of the Sri Lankan VAT scam that was valued at approximately Rs. 3.5 billion. Chief Magistrate Harsha Sethunga also issued a warrant for the arrest of Mrs. Cecile Kotelawala, a director of Golden Key and wife of Dr. Lalith Kotelawala.
The Attorney General requested the Court to direct Dr. Lalith Kotelawala and the other directors of the Company to refund the funds of depositors deposits amounting to Rs. 26 billion within ten days. Earlier this month the Attorney General informed Courts that investigations revealed the Golden Key Credit Card Company had also allegedly defaulted payment of nearly Rs. 150 million to the Inland Revenue Department.
Approximately 1000 of the islandwide depositors of Golden Key Credit Card Co. Ltd. organised a campaign last Monday (24) in front of the Ceylinco Consolidated subsidiaries located at R.A.D. Mel Mawatha, Colombo 03; starting from the GKCCCL head office.Meanwhile Daily FT learns that still the Golden Key employees are in despair
since they have not been paid the termination compensation package by Ceylinco Consolidated. “We have been discussing this issue since the beginning of this month and now we are heading to meet the legal counsel of Dr. Lalith Kotelawala, Mrs. Thushari Weerasinghe to take up our issue" a senior official from Golden Key Group of Ceylinco Consolidated told Daily FT.
Taking over Ceylinco Consolidated from his father in the 1960s, Dr.Kotelawala expanded the group into new fields Banking, Non- Banking Finance, Investment Banking, Housing and Property Development, Travel and Leisure, Communication and Information Technology, Education and Healthcare and has recently diversified into the field of microfinance. Since then Lalith Kotelawala managed to develop Ceylinco Group to becoming the most diversified conglomerate entity in Sri Lanka along with hundreds of subsidiaries under its umbrella.
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Feb. 27 (Bloomberg) -- Sri Lanka’s inflation slowed more than economists expected to the lowest in three years, making it more likely the central bank will cut interest rates to bolster the island’s economic growth.
Consumer prices in the capital Colombo rose 7.6 percent in February from a year earlier, after increasing 10.7 percent in January, the statistics agency said on its website today. That was the lowest reading since January 2006, when inflation was 7.3 percent. Economists expected an increase of 8.6 percent.
Governor Nivard Cabraal may add to two interest rate cuts in as many months to pump cash into the banking system and help shield the economy from the global recession. The Central Bank of Sri Lanka this week reduced the amount of money that lenders need to set aside as deposits for the third time since October after lowering the overnight lending rate on Feb. 11.
“The sharper decline in inflation is giving enough legroom to the central bank to cut interest rates going forward,” said Sumith Perera, an analyst with Eagle NDB Co., the nation’s biggest mutual fund company. “Lower interest rates will help boost growth.”
The central bank on Feb. 24 reduced the statutory reserve requirement to 7 percent from 7.75 percent, a move aimed at releasing 9 billion rupees ($79 million) into the financial system, the bank said in a statement.
The unexpected cut in the reserve requirement followed a reduction in the overnight lending rate or the so-called penal interest rate to 16.5 percent from 17 percent on Feb. 11. The repurchase rate was also reduced by a quarter of a percentage point to 10.25 percent.
The penal rate now serves as a ceiling on overnight interest rates and as a benchmark rate for other market rates, according to the central bank. A basis point is 0.01 percentage point.
“We have room for less stringent monetary policy,” Governor Cabraal said Feb. 20. Cabraal expects inflation to slow to 5 percent by the end of the year.
To support growth, Sri Lanka in December unveiled a 16 billion rupees ($140 million) stimulus package that includes cutting retail fuel prices and removing some taxes.
Fitch Ratings today cut Sri Lanka’s credit rating outlook to negative from stable because of the “marked” decline in the nation’s foreign exchange reserves. The rating agency affirmed Sri Lanka’s long-term foreign currency rating at B+, four levels below investment grade, according to an e-mailed statement.
The nation’s economic growth slowed to 6.3 percent in the third quarter of 2008 from 7 percent in the previous three-month period as declining overseas demand eroded the nation’s tea, rubber and textile exports.
Still, Cabraal said Feb. 7 that Sri Lanka’s economy may expand faster than previously estimated in 2009 as the government adds stimulus measures and as prospects of peace spur investment. Growth may be 6 percent this year, more than an earlier forecast of between 5 percent and 5.5 percent, Cabraal told Bloomberg News in an interview.
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(Colombo-Lankapuvath-February 27) The Italian Government has allocated 250.00Euros (330.000 US Dollars to the World Health Organization, following the appeal for the common Humanitarian Action Plan of the United Nations for Sri Lanka, launched in Colombo on 18th February 2009.
The Italian contribution will fund activities implemented by the WHO under the project “Ensuring Delivery of health interventions in conflict affected areas”.
The intervention of the WHO is aimed, in particular, at improving essential health services for the displaced population in the Northern Districts of Sri Lanka due to the current conflict, by intensifying the systems for control of epidemics.
The activities will include the distribution of essential drugs of medical provisions, as well as the streng thening of the health system at a local level, including the psychological support both to the displaced and to the hosting communities
Posted by media at 9:53 PM
Feb 27, Mahiyangana: Sri Lanka police found a high power pressure bomb near the training school of Police Special Task Force (STF) in Mahiyangana this afternoon.
Police spokesman SSP Ranjith Gunasekara said a bomb was found at about 1:30 this afternoon on civilian information.
According to STF sources the pressure bomb was weighing nearly 14 kilograms. Police Special Task Forces defused it later.
Mahiyangana police is conducting further investigations.
Posted by media at 9:47 PM
New York, 27 February, (Asiantribune.com): Dr Lal Fernando, Chairman of the ''Sri Lankan-Americans for President Obama'', has written a letter to Senator Robert Casey, Jr., Chairman of the Foreign Relations Sub Committee on South Asia, appraising him of the recent developments in Sri Lanka.
"We ask you to accept a simple fact: why should a small country be asked to negotiate with an accepted terrorist group when we in the USA and the rest of the large democracies, like India, UK, EU, and Australia refuse to negotiate with the terrorist groups they are fighting against."
The letter reads:
I am a Sri-Lankan American residing in Naples, Florida. I am married with three children and two grandchildren. I came to this country in 1964 on a Fulbright Scholarship. I am writing this memorandum as the Chairman of a small group of Sri-Lankan Americans who are ardent supporters of our new president Barack Obama.
These are the facts:
• Sri-Lanka is a vibrant democracy. In spite of an on going terrorist problem for the last 30 years. It’s achievements in the domestic front are remarkable.
• In the SAARC Region comprising of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Maldives, Afghanistan, and Sri-Lanka, the record of Sri-Lanka’s achievements in the areas of education, health, children’s and women’s health programs, and even per capita income, and life expectancy the numbers for Sri-Lanka is highest in the region. This is not an accident but purely a matter of good governance.
• For the last 30 years, Sri-Lanka has been waging a war with a terrorist group (the LTTE) and nearly 70,000 of its citizens have died. It took nearly 22 years for the Western Governments to understand this fact and then they too designated the LTTE as a terrorist organization, along with its other front organizations like the World Tamil Association, the Tamil Rehabilitation organization and the Tamil Foundation.
USA, UK, EU, Canada, Australia, India, Norway and many other Western democracies have agreed with the FBI who has labeled this group the LTTE and its allied organizations as the most dangerous and deadly extremist organizations in the world. In addition, the LTTE has also perfected the other weapon of propaganda, whereby they systematically disseminate disinformation.
• The monies the LTTE have been collecting from the Tamil Diaspora has been severely dealt with since these organizations have been proscribed in the Western Countries and there by dealing a severe blow to the acquiring of arms and ammunitions for waging this war against Sri-Lanka. Sri-Lanka now at last is on the verge of eliminating the LTTE and we ask your committee to go along with the Regional Super Power India who understands the cultural, political, and social ramifications of Sri-Lanka.
• We also ask you to accept a simple fact why should a small country be asked to negotiate with an accepted terrorist group when we in the USA and the rest of the large democracies, like India, UK, EU, and Australia refuse to negotiate with the terrorist groups they are fighting with.
• India has nearly 70,000,00 Tamils living there while we in Sri-Lanka have a little more than 2,000,000 Tamils living happily in Sri-Lanka. The de facto acting Prime Minister of India, Mr. Pranab Mukerjee, stated on the 21st of this month on the floor of India’s parliament "with the return of clarity to Congress led government in its policy toward LTTE, to the level it was during Prime Minister, Mr. Narasimha Rao’s tenure, there is now a very wide bi-partisan consensus on how to deal with the menace of LTTE’s terrorism. LTTE is part of the problem in Sri-Lanka and can never be part of any solution, accepted to India".
• Dr Subramaniam Swmay , leader of the Janatha Party, and a former Law Minister went on to state "Hence, India must assist the Sri-Lankan Government in every way to put an end to the LTTE and bring the supremo Prabhakaran to book decisively and with finality for Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination."
Posted by media at 9:42 PM
Re-double our efforts to combat the menace of terrorism individually and collectively – Sri Lanka President
Colombo, 27 February, (Asiantribune.com): "We, in the region of South Asia, today face several common challenges. Common challenges require collective responses. Terrorism is such a challenge and it requires our immediate and united attention due to the impact it has on all of us, in one way or another" said President Mahinda Rajapaksa addressing the SAARC Foreign Ministers Conference in Colombo today.
President Rajapaksa in his address to the SAARC Foreign Ministers in Colombo, today - 27 February Contunued to say, "Our societies bear the brunt of the evil force of terrorism. But, we cannot and should not allow even a single citizen of South Asia to suffer as a result of the brutal violence un-leashed by terrorists. Therefore, we need to re-double our efforts to combat this menace individually and collectively. We cannot shy away from taking firm and forceful action to combat terrorism, including internationally. We, among other measures, should uphold democracy, support each other’s democracies and make it a vehicle towards defeating terrorism.
"In this regard, I recognise that in the SAARC region, and in multi-lateral fora like the United Nations, we have agreed on a series of measures as to how to combat terrorism in line with accepted universal values and standards. The time has come to re-dedicate ourselves to fully implement such agreed measures. We must not hesitate to go further towards taking innovative action in combating terrorism to make our societies, our cities, and our villages safe for our people to live in. Our rich cultures cannot be allowed to be riddled by the curse of terrorism. I hope this ministerial meeting will be able to give further direction on this important current issue for people in this region.
On the global financial melt down, President Rajapaksa said: "The depression in the commodity market is adversely affecting most of us, even negating the gains resulting from the declining oil prices. Trade flows, production lines and the service sector are suffering from the domino effect of this crisis and there are looming liquidity problems.
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TamilNet seems to be working overtime now on disinformation, with claims that the cause of its leader has been taken up by the highest in the world. Most recently it has attributed to the British Foreign Secretary – and from a Sri Lankan expatriate point of view you cannot go higher than that – some strange views on genocide and Sri Lanka. It declared that Britain’s Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, agreed Tuesday with parliamentarians who said that the Sri Lankan government is 'quite prepared to go ahead with acts of genocide.'
Going through the actual extracts from Hansard, it seemed to me that Mr Miliband, while being his usual charming self, had not quite said that, but doubtless our Foreign Ministry will call in the British High Commissioner for a clarification, so I will reserve comment until later on young Miliband.
Incidentally, the British envoy in Geneva thought I was being rude when I thus described him shortly after he had taken up his current position, but I was only being affectionate about a fellow Corpuscle. He was so much younger than me, and looked even more so, that I was reminded of an old adage, that one realises one is ageing when policemen looked younger than oneself. When it comes to British Foreign Secretaries, one realises that the time for walking sticks is drawing nigh.
My present concern however is not that holiest of holies, but rather the egregious Bruce Fein, who TamilNet claims was invited to present written testimony on 'Recent Developments in Sri Lanka' before the Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Middle East and Asia. I cannot believe that that exalted body actually invited Mr Fein, since American traditions of justice would surely have demanded that it also invite me along, if it had gone out of its way to ensure it had the benefit of Mr Fein’s views. After all, it was I who accepted Mr Fein’s challenge to a debate, only to find him worming his way out of it, which surely the Senate (assuming it takes people like Mr Fein seriously) must have realised cast some doubts on the validity of his case.
Unless my idealistic view of America is all wrong, what must have happened, I decided, was that Mr Fein had asked to be heard, and had been gently told that he could provide written testimony instead. It should be noted however that Fein himself claimed that he had been contacted by the office of the Chairman of the Subcommittee. If this was an unsolicited request, based on Fein’s sterling reputation, one assumes the office aides were also aware of Fein’s history of courageous if quixotic diatribes against American politicians of every hue, beginning with President Clinton, which may have been what endeared him to the Tamil Tigers and their surrogates who have hired him.
Prof Rajiva Wijesinha
Secretariat for Coordinating the Peace Process
Posted by media at 8:57 PM
The two light aircraft of the LTTE that carried out a failed air raid on Colombo last week had taken off from Mullaivaikkal area in the north of Mullaitivu, civilians who fled the area said.
They said that they had seen the two aircraft suddenly taking off from the ground in Mullaivaikkal area around 8.30 in the night on February 20. However they were unable to reveal the exact location from where the two aircraft had taken off.
These civilians, who had sought refuge with the security forces, revealed that those aircraft never returned to the area. Some had seen these two aircraft dragged on wheels by the LTTE cadres from Puthukkudiyiruppu area under armed guard on the same evening.
On February 20, soldiers in the frontline in Mullaitivu and Puthukkudiyirruppu saw two unidentified planes flying southwards from uncleared areas .They alerted Colombo about the two planes, which appeared to be on their way to Colombo.
Later the two planes were gunned down by the security forces in Colombo before the Sky Tigers could achieve their targets believed to be the Air Force Headquarters in Colombo and the Katunayake Air Force base.
So far, the military have found seven runways belonging to the LTTE in the Wanni region.
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Tiger Leader personally recruiting civilians by force
As the Sri Lanka Army speeds up its advance into the remaining 63 square kilometres of land controlled by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) its chief Velupillai Prabhakaran had reportedly told his senior leader that he would not leave the country and would fight the military until his death. According to the civilians and the LTTE cadres who had surrendered to the military it has been revealed that most of the senior level leaders such as Pottu Amman, Soosai and Prabhakaran’s son Charles Anthony themselves are leading from the front in the battlefield under the direct command of Prabhakaran.
The LTTE Chief had said he would come to the battlefield very soon if the military further penetrates Tiger defences and advance into the LTTE held areas. He has also reportedly urged the people to join him stating that otherwise he would personally recruit the civilians by force.
He has reportedly stated that neither he nor the senior command of the Tigers would leave the country but would fight to the end. However he has promised to regain all the lost area very soon and until then had urged the people help him strengthen the manpower of the organization.
Civilians, who surrendered to the Navy on Tuesday, had revealed that they themselves saw Prabhakaran in the Puthukkudiyiruppu area and Pottu Amman and Charles Anthony at Matalan in Mullaitivu on February 4. Pottu Amman was engaged in the forcible recruitment of civilians in Matalan.
Sea Tiger Leader Soosai had been visiting the civilians gathered inside the Safe Zone on a regular basis in order to recruit them. However on one occasion, a group of people had shouted at Soosai and asked him to leave the place. Later some armed cadres had assaulted all those civilians that had shouted at Soosai.
Intercepted LTTE radio communications also revealed that senior level cadres are personally commanding the battle against the military.
According to civilian information, most of the senior leaders are travelling on motorbikes wearing helmets that cover the entire head in order to prevent being identified by civilians.
According to surrendered LTTE cadres all senior leaders except Prabhakaran are in the battlefield commanding the remaining cadres, which are some 500 to 700 in strength. Another 2500 civilians, who were forcibly recruited and given three days weapons training had been deployed on the battlefront.
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Thursday, February 26, 2009
During a telephone conversation with Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama today (26 February 2009), French Foreign Minister Dr. Bernard Kouchner expressed his happiness at the conflict in the North of Sri Lanka coming to a conclusion and inquired on how best humanitarian assistance could be extended by France. He also expressed concerns at the civilians being held hostage in the conflict area.
Minister Bogollagama explained the manner in which the LTTE had been shifting the civilians as and when the areas were cleared from their hold, and at present being confined to a strip of land with the civilians being used as human shields. He also outlined the ICRC’s support in the delivery of humanitarian services including the evacuation of the sick. The Minister also pointed out that the access of government agencies to the uncleared area had been hindered by the LTTE.
On inquiry by the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister with regard to the envisaged humanitarian assistance from France, Minister Kouchner shared the possibility of making available the services of the French Red Cross. Minister Bogollagama opined that such assistance would be useful and the two Ministers agreed to further discuss the related modalities with regard to the French offer.
Posted by media at 11:50 PM
The Sri Lankan Army Commander Lieutenant General Sarath Fonseka told The Bottom Line yesterday that the Eelam War IV has entered its final stage.
“Eelam War IV has reached its final stage as Sri Lanka Army troops have successfully laid siege to the entire Puthukudyiruppu east area and the troops advance towards the LTTE terror bastion. Our troops are advancing further and we will declare this war ended very soon. Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam Leader V. Prabhakaran may attempt to flee the island by sea as he is a multi-millionaire terrorist and will want to live longer,” the Army Commander said.
The LTTE remain only in Puthukudyiruppu east and have relinquished the rest of the area to Army control at the moment.
Troops entered LTTE stronghold
While this column was being written yesterday morning, the 582 Division commanded by Lt. Colonel Sanajaya Wanigasinghe advanced his troops from west to east of Puthukudyiruppu and the Task Force 8 commanded by Colonel Ravipriya advanced his troops from the south towards Puthukudyiruppu. Meanwhile the 581 Brigade under Lt. Colonel Deshapriya Gunawaradane advanced his troops from north to south on to Puthukudyiruppu, the final LTTE bastion
Sources from the battlefront said pitched battles erupted as troops confronted the LTTE cadres backed by mortar and artillery fire. The 5 Armoured Corp. commanded by Lt. Colonel Nihal Samarakoon provided vital Armour support to the ground troops from their T-55 Main battle Tanks and BMP Tanks, destroying Tiger bunkers.
Eelam War IV is almost at the finishing line. The entire cadre of the LTTE has been confined by the military to the Puthukudyiruppu east build up, and the No Fire Zone 63 square kilometres in extent. Heavy fighting ensued between troops and the LTTE west of Puthukkudiyirippu and East of Ampalavanpokkanai since February 21 morning as counter terrorist operations entered its last phases in Mullaitivu. According to latest information from the battlefront the Sri Lanka Army has encircled the LTTE at Puthukudyiruppu east, and the safe zone demarcated by the government. This area is the narrow sliver of land between the lagoon and the Indian Ocean. Just below Chalai town in the map is the inlet to the lagoon. The safe zone begins from around five kilometres below Chalai and runs up to a few kilometres from Mullaitivu town where there is another inlet to the Nanthikadal lagoon. LTTE fired mortars from the Safe Zone and they used civilians as human shield said one of the civilians who was admitted to the Trincomalee Hospital
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VAVUNIYA, Sri Lanka (Reuters) - The Tamil Tigers gave V. Rasamalar no choice in how she would die -- the separatist rebels told her she would die alongside them in Sri Lanka's war zone.
But the mother of two escaped heavy fighting and fled to an army-controlled area. She and her children are now living with about 1,000 other refugees in a military-run transit camp in the northern city of Vavuniya.
"The organization said we were going to die anyway if we crossed to the army-controlled area and told us to die with them," said 48-year-old Rasamalar, who fled the northern town of Udayarkattu when soldiers fought their way into it.
More than 36,000 Tamils since January 1 have fled to government-controlled areas, running from the final battles of a 25-year-old war and Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebels who tried to force them to stay.
"After a long time, at least me and my two children are relieved from hearing the sound of shells and life in a bunker," she told Reuters at a school converted into one of 15 temporary homes for Tamil refugees.
On the run for weeks or months, refugees say they faced the wrath of the rebels, constant combat, perpetual fear and little food or water.
"There is scarce food. Even 15-year-old youth are being forcibly recruited by the LTTE. We were not allowed to leave the war zone. This is the situation of over 200,000 Tamils in that area," S. Selvekumar told Reuters.
Formerly a security guard for an international aid agency, Selvekumar escaped at night in a boat that was rescued by the Sri Lankan navy. But he left his sister behind and still does not know now where she is.
"DON'T KNOW THEIR FATE"
Aid agencies estimate that 200,000 Tamils are now squeezed into a 12-km long stretch of land on the northeastern coast which the army has declared as a no-fire zone. The government says there are no more than 70,000 people there, along with the LTTE.
Soldiers are less than 5 km (2 miles) away, and commanders expect they will face a final showdown with the Tigers there -- one in which they will have to fight carefully to prevent any civilian casualties.
Ariyakutti Velayutham, a 72-year former manager of a Hindu temple who escaped on a Red Cross ship bringing out sick and wounded people, now spends his days fearing for the safety of his children and grandchildren.
"I do not know the fate of my two sons, a daughter, and a grandson who had been hiding from being forcibly recruited by the LTTE," he said in the presence of government officers.
He said the LTTE had fired artillery from populated areas, "compelling the army to target us." The military denies targeting civilians, but has acknowledged some may have been killed.
"There were radio messages by the LTTE saying that once we got into government-controlled areas, females would be raped and males would be tortured, but nothing has happened," he said.
Some refugees complained that life in the refugee camp is just as hard as life in LTTE territory.
"I sometimes feel that we are now imprisoned in this refugee camp, after being held as prisoners by LTTE for a long time," 42-year-old S. Babu told Reuters.
At one camp, Reuters saw more than 100 refugees trying to speak to relatives over a camp wall.
The government says the restrictions are temporary, to give them time to weed out LTTE infiltrators and to ensure the rebels do not try to repeat a suicide attack that killed 30 people on February 9 at a refugee registration center.
The government plans to transfer most refugees to temporary villages with schools and other facilities, with homes for each family. The government says people will be placed with others from their home areas.
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(February 25, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) Why should India all of a sudden get interested in so called peace talks between the government and the LTTE? Is it to appease Tamil Nadu where lawyers, actors, politicians and other middle class elements get together to agitate on behalf of the trapped personnel in Mulativu? If Tamil Nadu intellectuals are genuine and if they believe what they have said, then next time some terrorists hijack an Indian plane, let these humanitarians get together in Chennai to organise a demonstration demanding that the Indian government talks with the terrorists.
Instead of demanding that the Sri Lankan government commences peace talks with the LTTE, any humanitarian should help the government to liberate the innocent Tamil people forcefully held in Mulativu by the LTTE. If one argues that the people are there on their own having decided to stay back then they have to be considered at least as supporters of the LTTE, and there is nothing that the government can do for them. Even if the armed forces take all the precautions and liberate them they may not come with the forces. The trapped people appear to be more loyal to the LTTE, if we go by the words of the latter and the various statements by the pundits in the NGO industry and by other pundits.
There should be no talks with the LTTE for the simple reason that it is the terrorist organisation that keep the trapped people in misery, assuming of course that they are not LTTE supporters who have decided to stay on their own. India is clearly backing so called peace talks in order to pacify the Tamil Nadu supporters of the LTTE.
The fact that it is only in Tamil Nadu that this type of demonstrations goes onto strengthen the argument that the Tamils in Jaffna and other parts of Sri Lanka are of recent origin. The Tamils in Tamil Nadu still get agitated when they think the Tamils in Sri Lanka are grieved by the so called Sinhala government. When Sinhala people are affected nobody, not even those from Orissa (Kalinga) or West Bengal (Vanga) are concerned though it is said by some people that the Sinhalas came to Sri Lanka from these parts of Dambadiva.
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Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Colombo: Senior presidential advisor and MP Basil Rajapaksa has warned that the international community, several foreign organizations and local groups were misleading the people in the North and the East.
Mr. Rajapaksa made these comments when he inaugurated the Valaichchenai fisheries harbour project during the weekend and asked the people to be wary of any group or individual who spread disinformation and said people should be patient as they would have to undergo difficulties during the ongoing operations to liberate the North from the clutches of the LTTE.
We expect a bumper harvest in the East because more than 135,000 acres have been cultivated since the area was liberated last year, he said and added that the government was intent on developing the important agricultural sector.
He said Maldives had developed to this extent largely due to its flourishing tourism industry.
The Valchcheni fisheries harbour funded by the Asian Development Bank is being built at a cost Rs.330 million and will cater to more than 400 boats that are expected to call at the harbour daily. The previous harbour was destroyed by the LTTE in 1992 when it attacked the police post located within the harbor killing more than 100 policemen.
Fisheries Minister Felix Perera, Resettlement Minister Amir Ali and Eaten Province Chief Minister Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan also participated at the ceremony.
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Feb 25, Trincomalee, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka:
The International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) with the assistance of Sri Lanka Navy has evacuated another batch of sick and wounded civilians by sea from Puttumatalan area in Mullaitivu to Trincomalee.
Ms. Sarasi Wijeratne, spokesperson for the ICRC in Sri Lanka said that they have brought another 390 civilians from the embattled area in Mullaitivu to Trincomalee Hospital.
According to the spokesperson the civilians were ferried last night by the 'Green Ocean' vessel.
This is the fifth batch of sick and wounded civilians the ICRC evacuated to Trincomalee.
The ICRC has already evacuated over 1,040 civilians to the Trincomalee Hospital by the sea route.
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Feb 25, Colombo, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka:
Sri Lanka Transport Ministry is planning to commence reconstruction of the Northern rail track that ends at Kankasanthurai in Jaffna peninsula on 19th of March.
The Ministry announced that this process will be carried out under the supervision of President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
Transport Minister Dullas Alahapperuma said the Ministry hopes to get the support of the entire nation to succeed in the project. The Transport Ministry has also established a new secretariat for this process.
Northern rail track from Vavuniya to Kankasanthurai in Sri Lanka was severely damaged due to the wanton destruction of infrastructure by the LTTE in last two decades. As a result, the Jaffna bound train from Colombo is currently operating only to Vavuniya.
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Feb 25, Colombo: Sri Lanka government is planning to reopen the A-9 Jaffna-Kandy highway for the public by next month, said Defense spokesman Minister Keheliya Rambukwella.
However, an AFP report said the military reopened the road yesterday and operated a food convoy along the A-9 highway to Jaffna.
According to the Minister there is no exact date to reopen the road, but certainly it will be reopened in March after the security forces clear the road of land mines.
Defence Spokesman said the demining of the road which was controlled by the LTTE for nearly a decade is currently underway.
He said the President Mahinda Rajapaksa's intention is to open the A-9 highway by next month and the government is doing everything possible to open an alternative route for the public to travel to Jaffna as soon as possible.
The government hopes that opening of the Jaffna-Kandy main route will facilitate the free and quick movement of people and goods among all parts of the island resulting in an increase in commerce and help to reduce prices of essential items in the Jaffna peninsula.
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