Sunday, September 23, 2007

Terrorism in Sri Lanka

Terrorism in Sri Lanka

Thanks God, no religion is labeled here, that is the right thing to do. If Tamil Tigers were Muslims, would the world still have labeled Tamil Tigers? Terrorism can be solved by laser barking at the individual terrorists.

Mike Ghouse

Sri Lanka offers olive branch to Tamil Tigers

19 hours ago

COLOMBO (AFP) — Sri Lanka offered Sunday to halt major military
operations against Tamil separatists in exchange for peace talks
following intense international censure.

Troops will not press ahead with an offensive if Tamil Tiger rebels
agree to talk, Defence Ministry secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse told a
newspaper amid pressure from the island's key foreign backers not to
pursue the military option.

The country's top defence official said it was now up to the Tigers to
decide if the military should keep up its drive and urged them to
resume peace negotiations which collapsed in October last year.

"The decision (of war or peace) is theirs and I believe they wouldn't
reject this opportunity," Rajapakse told the Sunday Island. "We'll not
take advantage of the ground situation," if the Tigers agree to

Rajapakse, who is also the president's younger brother, made the
comments after the the United States urged Colombo against pressing
ahead with a military drive.

The European Union and neighbouring India have also warned against an
all-out military campaign.

The surprise olive branch came just days after the defence secretary
had vowed to crush the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

Rajapakse had on Monday called for stepped-up military action to
finish off the rebels.

"Without defeating terrorism, we can't have a political settlement,"
he said last week in a speech in the northeastern coastal city of
Trincomalee as part of celebrations after the ministry said three
rebel gun-running ships had been sunk.

"The president is working hard on a political settlement," he said,
adding: "Whatever the political settlement, it cannot be implemented
unless terrorism is eradicated."

The hard-hitting speech prompted the US ambassador to Sri Lanka to
warn there was no military solution to the Indian Ocean island's
long-running separatist conflict, which has claimed more than 60,000
lives since 1972.

"The expulsion of the LTTE from the east (of the island) and the
recent sinking of several LTTE ships carrying arms and other
provisions mark important military successes," Blake said.

"But these tactical successes should not tempt the government to
re-consider whether Sri Lanka's conflict can be won by military means.
It cannot."

Diplomats close to the now moribund Norwegian-led peace process said
Colombo appeared to be taking on board their concerns in the wake of
high-level international meetings in Geneva and New York focusing on
the island.

"There is no mood on either side to resume talks," one diplomat noted.
"But, at least we can expect a scaling down of the violence. There is
a lot of concern about the mounting body count."

Ambassador Blake's remarks came as the Sri Lankan government battled
to avoid formal censure at the United Nations Human Rights Council,
which is reviewing the island's deteriorating rights record in Geneva.

Diplomats said Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapakse could also face
tough questioning during his current visit to New York to address the
UN general assembly.

Rights groups accuse the government and Tamil rebels of extra-judicial
killings and scores of disappearances of civilians and political

A top international panel on Wednesday accused Sri Lanka of failing to
honour promises to investigate grave human rights violations and
accused the government of a virtual cover-up.

The International Independent Group of Eminent Persons (IIGEP) said a
government probe into 16 high-profile cases, including mass murder,
had failed to make headway since being launched in November 2006.

More than 5,400 people have been killed since December 2005 when a
truce began to unravel.

No comments: