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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2648

Monthly archive

Under the guise of peace, Sri Lankan government accelerates drive to civil war

Amid the descent into all-out civil war, the Sri Lankan government, via its peace secretariat (SCOPP), issued a thoroughly cynical statement on June 18, which has been trumpeted in the international press as a “call for peace talks”. It could be more aptly described as a declaration of war on the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). The statement denounces the LTTE’s “intransigence” for the breakdown of peace talks, condemns its reliance on “violence and terrorism to achieve its political goals” and, without providing any evidence, blames the LTTE for the killing of 64 Sinhalese villagers in a mine blast near the town of Kebitigollewa on June 15.

LTTE is called to put away arms and Security Forces urged to maintain highest standards of conduct - British High Commissioner

Dominick Chilcott British High Commissioner in Sri Lanka, Dominick Chilcott exhorted the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam to put away their weapons and their attachment to violence and join the family of civilized, democratic peoples who sort out their differences through negotiations, not terror. The High Commissioner pointed out that the Tamil rebel outfit must try to attain their political aspirations through the democratic institutions of the state, not through bombs and bullets. At a Party to celebrate the 80th Birthday of her Majesty the Queen, the British High Commissioner, Dominick Chilcott, spoke to an audience of 700 Sri Lankan, British and other nationals drawn from government, diplomatic missions, the business community and civil society.

Replacement of SLMM monitors from EU countries – Norwegian Government

Norway’s Foreign Ministry has confirmed that “The Norwegian Government has received answers to the questions” they have sent on 8 June to the Government of Sri Lanka and also to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. Norwegian Foreign Ministry further said, “The Government of Sri Lanka has responded affirmatively to all five questions.” But in the case of the Tamil rebel outfit, “The LTTE has responded positively to questions 1, 3 and 4.”

Post-War Peace Building Still a Boys Club

by Thalif Deen - Inter Press Service

When the 15-member U.N. Security Council unanimously adopted its landmark "Resolution 1325" in October 2000, it conveyed a strong political message to the international community: that there can be no lasting peace in post-war rebuilding without active participation of women. The resolution, described as the first in which the Security Council addressed the role and experience of women in armed conflicts, called on warring parties to adopt "a gender perspective" on peace negotiations and "gender mainstreaming" in all U.N. peacekeeping missions.

Protestants and Catholics world all over blame LTTE for the killings of bus passengers in Kebithigollewa

Protestants and Catholics world all over have condemned the recent killings of the innocent civilian bus passengers in Kebithigollewa, and openly blamed the killings to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). UCAN – Union of Catholic Asia News Agency, the World Largest Asia Church News Agency which publish news about and interest to the Church of Asia has carried the statements made by Bishop Duleep De Chickera, the Anglican bishop of Colombo, The Commission for Justice and Peace of the National Christian Council and that of the Auxiliary Bishop Marius Peiris of Colombo, secretary general of the Catholic Bishops' Conference in Sri Lanka.

India calls for devolution package and strengthening of ceasefire in Lanka

By M Rama Rao - Reporting from New Delhi for Asian Tribune

Mangala & ManmohanIn what is seen as some plain speak, Indian prime minister conveyed to the visiting Sri Lanka foreign minister Mangala Samaraveera that while Colombo can count on New Delhi's support, it must work towards strengthening the ceasefire with the LTTE and evolve a genuinely consensus based devolution package to usher in ethnic harmony. While it is said that the Prime Minister addressed his appeal to both sides to the conflict in Sri Lanka namely Colombo and the Tigers, a view here is that President Rajapakse should not let in drift of any kind and work with as much speed as possible to restore ethnic harmony in the island nation. New Delhi's concern is that any trouble in the island will have spill over effects on Tamilnadu; it is also keen to see an early end to the bloodshed.

Conflicting reports on the abduction and recruitment of children by Karuna group

In a press statement UNICEF in Sri Lanka has openly condemned the abduction and recruitment of children by the Karuna group. In the meantime the UNICEF allegation has been categorically denied by Pilliyan, Special Commander of the TamilEela Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal, led by its leader V.Muralitharan alias Colonel Karuna Amman. UNICEF in its statement called for immediate action to halt the abduction and forced recruitment of children by the Karuna group. “Over the past week, the agency has verified reports of thirty cases in Batticaloa district. Reports of abduction and forced recruitment of boys under the age of 18 from the area have increased since March of this year,” it added.

Sri Lanka to revive a defunct press complaint body.

By Our Colombo Correspondent

Sri Lankan government plans to resurrect now defunct state controlled press complaint investigation institution, an attempt, media activists described as a step backward in the march to media freedom. Information Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa said the defunct press complaint commission would be restored to handle the complaints received against the newspapers. Sri Lanka Press Council, the state controlled press complaint commission was made obsolete by the Ranil Wickremesinghe Administration and was replaced by a voluntary institution set up by the newspapers editors and proprietors.

U.S. Grants 50 Million to support water supply and sanitation in tsunami hit areas

By Munza Mushtaq - Reporting from Colombo for Asian Tribune

The U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) granted U.S. $561,000 to the Ministry of Finance and Planning of Sri Lanka. Agreement regarding the grant was signed yesterday at the Finance Ministry with Ambassador Jeffrey Lunstead and Dr P. B. Jayasundera, Secretary to the Treasury signing on behalf of the U.S. and Sri Lankan governments respectively. USTDA provided the grant to increase the supply of safe drinking water and adequate sanitation facilities to people affected by the Indian Ocean tsunami.

Sri Lanka to take up Tiger demand for removal of EU nationals from SLMM

By Our Colombo Correspondent

Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry and Peace Secretariat would take up the Tiger guerrilla's rejection of the ceasefire monitors representative of the EU nations. Information Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa told the weekly cabinet briefing said the Norwegian peace facilitators had informed the government of LTTE demand for the removal of Danes, Swedish and Finish representatives from the ceasefire-monitoring mission. "The government does not have any objection either to the facilitator (Norway) or the truce monitors," added Minister Priyadarsana Yapa.

Sri Lankan SME's to be represented across the globe - Minister Bogollagama

By Sunil C. Perera - Reporting from Colombo

Stephen Timms Chief Secretary to the Treasury UK and Mrs. Shiranthi Mahinda Rajapakse declared open the ‘Serendib 2006 Sri Lanka Trade Exhibition’ on Wednesday at New Connaught Rooms Covent Garden, London, The three-day exhibition showcases the creativity, imagination, quality and capabilities of the Sri Lankan export led economy. 60 local exhibitors now display their products at the exhibition.

Guns and bombs from China

By Tukoji R Pandit - Syndicate Features

It is hardly surprising that the London-based Amnesty International has reported that China has become the ‘most secretive and irresponsible’ exporter of arms which help fuel conflicts in many parts of the world. Sudan, Nepal and Myanmar are among the countries that have received the ‘secret’ consignment of arms from Beijing. In each of these countries the autocratic governments are (or till recently were, in the case of Nepal) suppressing the people’s resistance to stay in power. The clandestine arms trade of China has been in existence for long and in full knowledge of countries such as the US. Despite some ‘sanctions’, which did not have any punitive effect, Beijing was never under any pressure to introduce transparency in its one billion dollar arms export, much less curb it. The Amnesty lament has, therefore, come too late to in the day.

Indo-US Civilian Nuclear Cooperation enters new phase: Vice President Cheney to persuade Congress

Daya Gamage – US National Correspondent for Asian Tribune

Dick CheneyIn a growing environment of skepticism about the Bush Administration’s U.S.-India civilian nuclear cooperation among its own Republican Party lawmakers in the United States Congress, the administration yesterday, June 22, released the draft bill which is scheduled to go before the US House of Representatives’ International Relations Committee next Tuesday, June 27 for scrutiny while Vice President Dick Cheney took the lead in persuading the Congress of its merits. Before lobbying both the Senate and the House, addressing the U.S.-India Business Council’s Leadership Summit in Washington June 22, the American vice president endeavored to dismiss the arguments of the critics, both administration-aligned Republican senators and House members, and opposition Democrats in the Congress, saying “They (India) have acted more responsibly than some countries who have signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).”