Thursday, February 25, 2010

'US can't afford to disengage with Lanka' : A US think tank says

To read the full CSIS paper click here

Aziz Haniffa in Washington - A leading Washington, DC-based think tank, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, notwithstanding the arrest of retired Sri Lankan Army General Sarath Fonseka who challenged President Mahinda Rajapakse at the recent elections, and the country's poor record on human rights and its treatment of several thousand internally displaced persons, has said that the United States cannot afford to disengage with the island nation.

In a paper titled 'Sri Lanka's Election: A Clear Mandate,' the CSIS South Asia bureau, which is headed by former diplomat Teresita Schaffer, who served for nearly three decades in South Asian capitals, including a stint as US ambassador to Sri Lanka, said, Rajapakse's recent victory -- which has been called into question in certain quarters with Fonseka alleging it was rigged – 'presents an opportunity to rebuild a nation devastated by a protracted, separatist war.'

It said that 'in order to sustain peace the new government must find a way to bring minorities into the political mainstream while pursuing economic development.'

"Beyond domestic concerns, Sri Lanka's poor record of upholding human rights and its treatment of the IDPs, has strained relations with the West," the report noted.

But it argued, 'given Sri Lanka's critical strategic location, the United States cannot afford to disengage with the country.'

Thus the CSIS called for 'a subtle and sophisticated approach to rethinking the partnership, recognising that the political game has changed in Sri Lanka, but also focusing on US economic, trade, and security interests, will benefit both sides.'

The report said that 'eight months after the dramatic and three decades of separatist war, Mahinda Rajapakse's decisive re-election as president of Sri Lanka gives him an opportunity to move the country forward on multiple fronts -- political reform, economic renewal, and re-engagement with international players including the United States.'

"For the United States and more broadly for the West," it argued, "it is time to recognize that the formulas for political reform that were put forth in the past 20 years are effectively dead."

The report added that 'these countries will need to find a new way to communicate with a leader, and a country, in no mood to listen to countries that they believe provided bad advice over the past two decades.'

It said that although Fonseka has not accepted Rajapakse's victory, 'other observers who have no reason to favour Rajapakse have not confirmed any suggestion of massive fraud, and the results were consistent all over the country.'

Although predicting that Fonseka's accusation are 'unlikely to get any traction,' the report acknowledged that Rajapakse's large scale reorganisation of the country's military with a purge of several senior commanders being forced into compulsory early retirement was necessarily because they supported Fonseka in the election notwithstanding the government accusing them 'of breaching military discipline.'

The CSIS report said that Rajapakse's remarks during his presidential campaign where he promised a continuation of political development in the provinces as well as free election in the north and his declaration of 'a Sri Lankan solution,' was an implicit rejection of 'the aspects of previous settlement proposals loosely modeled on the Indian constitution.'

It also said that Rajapakse has 'burnished Sri Lanka's long standing ties with China and also moved closer to Myanmar, Iran, and Libya,' and pointed out that Beijing has investment billions of dollars in Sri Lanka through military loans, infrastructure loans, and port development.'

But the report argued, 'at the same time, Sri Lanka has economic needs that the United States and Europe are better-placed to supply.'

Thus, according to the CSIS, "The stakes in new engagement between Sri Lanka and Western nations involve more than Sri Lanka's political future," and reiterated that since Sri Lanka is located at the nexus of crucial trading routes in the Indian Ocean, "the United States has an interest in deterring terrorist activity and curbing piracy that could disrupt trade in the area."


Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Read More

Bookmark and Share

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Still no trace of missing Sri Lankan journalist


Although two special teams have been deployed by the Homagama police to investigate into the disappearance of Lanka E-News freelance journalist Prageeth Ekneligoda, they are unable to find his whereabouts.

It has been a month since he went missing. The two teams were led by two Inspectors of Police (IPs), police media spokesman, SP Preshantha Jayakody said.

Mr. Ekneligoda went missing on January 24. A complaint was lodged at the Homagama police station by his wife. He had reportedly left the office of Lanka E News in Rajagiriya to return home on January 24, when he had gone missing. It was believed that he could have been abducted while on his way to Homagama. Mr. Ekneligoda was abducted once earlier.

Govt. Info. Department Director Anusha Palpita earlier said he had written to Inspector General of Police (IGP) Mahinda Balasuriya to expedite investigations to find him.

© Daily Mirror

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Read More

Bookmark and Share

Thursday, February 25, 2010

54 women detainees taken to Boossa prison from detention camps in Vavuniyaa

Terrorism Investigation Department (TID) arrested 54 women detainees from Pampaimadu and Cheddiku’lam Sri Lanka Army (SLA) detention camps 18 February and took them to Boossa prison 19 February, according to information sent to Jaffna Human Rights Commission (HRC) by Boossa prison authorities. Recently 49 women from the same camps in Vavuniyaa were arrested by TID and taken to Boossa prison for additional interrogation, sources in Vavuniyaa said.

Twelve women from Jaffna, 16 from Ki’linochchi, 9 from Mullaiththeevu, 7 from Mannaar, 5 from Trincomalee, 2 from Vavuniyaa and 3 from Ampaa’rai were taken to Boossa prison on 19 February.

The arrested women are not allowed to meet their family members.

The arrests of young women have caused fear and anxiety among the detainees.

© Tamil Net

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Read More

Bookmark and Share

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Sri Lankan Intelligence Infiltrates Facebook

According to informed sources within Sri Lankan intelligence, Sri lankan intelligence officials are now infiltrating on facebook to collect information on supporters of Sarath Fonseka and critics of Mahinda Rajapakse.

The idea of facebook infiltration is a brainchild of Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse to collect information on foreign LTTE suspects in the past. Now Defence Secretary had given orders to redirect this project to collect information on dissenting groups including supporters of Gen. Fonseka and Ranil Wicramasighne.

These facebook stalker teams consists of Army Intelligence officers and officers from N.I.B, our source revealed. These operatives pose as attractive females to unsuspecting facebook users and add them as friends. Once they befriend the victim, they collect their information and add them to their database.

Our legal commentators claim that this operation is a serious threat to the online privacy in Sri Lanka. They also urged the Sri Lankan facebook users to exercise cautions when using facebook.

© Sri Lanka Guardian

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Read More

Bookmark and Share

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Sri Lanka: Free Trade Zones to Kilinochchi and Trincomalee

The government has decided to set up free trade zones in the Killinochchi and Trincomalee districts soon as part of plans to speed up post-war development, a spokesperson for Board of Investment said.

Plans had also been finalized to open a BOI office in Jaffna, he said.

The coastal areas of the North and the East were now open for a wide range of investment projects including new hotels, he said.

Investors were also welcome to launch new projects in the Kilinochchi and Mullaitvu districts, the spokesperson added. Those areas had a great potential for rapid development, he said.

The BOI had received a large number of foreign invesment proposals in the past few months, he said.

© The Island

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Read More

Bookmark and Share
© 2009 - 2014 Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka

  © Blogger template 'Fly Away' by 2008

Back to TOP