Abbas hails Rajapaksa's success, Palestinian ties to Colombo

President Abbas (c) with President Rajapaksa. Photo Sunday Times Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas visiting Sri Lanka Monday hailed President Mahinda Rajapaksa for “achieving peace and stability in the country,” state media reported. Abbas is on a two-day official visit to Sri Lanka. It comes exactly fifteen years after former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat visited Sri Lanka – with an offer to mediate in the island’s conflict. Abbas was accompanied by foreign minister Riyad Al-Maliki. Al-Maliki told reporters that the two countries had seen issues “from the same eye” for a considerable...

SL to cut Iranian oil import as US deadline looms

Sri Lanka is intending to drastically cut back crude oil imports from Iran, as the June 28 deadline for sanctions imposed by the United States is drawing closer. "Our efforts to finalize new arrangements ahead of the deadline were on track," Petroleum Minister, Susil Premjayantha said to The Island yesterday. "In fact, we have no option, but to act swiftly and decisively to ensure an uninterrupted energy supply," Mr Premjayantha said the government will have to reach agreements with new suppliers to obtain the crude oil imports, which were previously purchased from Iran. Questioned about the...

Army to be ‘guiding light’ for development in Sri Lanka – Army Commander

In more signs of Sri Lanka’s intention to ignore recommendations made in the LLRC, the Army Commander has used his New Year’s message to the armed forces to call on the army to be the ‘guiding light’ for development, just as it has been for unification, in the country. Extracts from Lt. Gen. Jagath Jayasuriya’s new year message : "At a time the whole of Sri Lanka celebrates Sinhala and Hindu New Year, it is with great pleasure I extend my New Year greetings to all ranks in the Army and members of their families. "Our next challenge in this peaceful and unitary country is development. You, as...

Another Tamil Nadu party pulls out of Sri Lankan visit

Tamil Nadu's DMK party announced its decision to pull out of an all-party Indian delegation set to visit to Sri Lanka this week, on Sunday. Speaking to reporters, the DMK leader, Karunanidhi said, “DMK never planned [to be part of the delegation]. There are past experiences to show that there is no use of such visits . Therefore, nobody from DMK is undertaking the visit.” Tamil Nadu's Chief Minister, Jayalalithaa, of the AIADMK party, had announced her party's decision to withdraw their representative from the delegation earlier this week.

Army tell Tamils in Jaffna - 'beware the Tamil diaspora'

The Sri Lankan military's army commander in Jaffna, Major General Mahinda Hathurusinghe warned Tamils in the North-East to be wary of the Tamil diaspora. Hathurusinghe said , "Various groups in Tamil Diaspora are now in the process of undermining the hard-earned peace in the country. Instead of disturbing peace now being enjoyed by people of Sri Lanka, those groups must come forward to help destitute people to make their life better using money being wasted on creating dissension among communities in Sri Lanka" The Sri Lankan government has previously dismissed human rights concerns as "...

London Mayor wishes British Tamils in New Year message

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, extended his wishes to the British Tamil community celebrating Chithirai Tirunaal and Tamil New Year. In his message Mr Johnson highlighted the significant contributions British Tamils make to the city. Full message : "I would like to extend my warmest wishes to the British Tamil community on this day of celebrating Chithirai Tiru-naal." "This important occasion provides us with the opportunity to renew the ties that bring us all together in building a prosperous community based on the bonds of family and social responsibility." "It is these strong values...

Sri Lanka seeks further trade links with Palestine

Hoping to capitalise on Palestine's $4.02 billion economy, Sri Lanka seeks further trade links and tourism investment with Palestine. Sri Lanka's minister of Industry and Commerce, Rishad Bathiudeen, and his Palestinian counterpart, Khuloud Daibes, discussed ways of increasing trade between the two country's during a recent trade show. Addressing delegates at the show last month, Daibes said, "While offering greetings from our President and the Prime Minister, I should stress that Palestine can almost feel the great potential Sri Lanka has. We are glad that we have been able to arrive for...

US extends New Years wishes to Tamils and Singhalese

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has called on Sri Lanka to respect human rights in a statement marking Tamil and Singhalese New Year. “On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I am delighted to send best wishes to Sri Lankans around the world as you celebrate Sinhala and Tamil New Year. “This celebration brings people together to renew bonds of friendship and family. “It also gives Sri Lankans of all backgrounds, living inside and outside the country, an opportunity to help build a prosperous, democratic nation defined by tolerance and respect for human rights...

JVP to launch patriotic movement against 'imperialist interventions'

The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) announced it will be launching a new 'patriotic movement' early next month. The leader of the JVP, Somawansa Amarasinghe said the country was in need of a true patriotic force that campaigns against 'imperialist interventions into the country'. The party will hold seminars in the upcoming weeks to create awareness on how to defeat such 'imperialist intervention'.

Coalition of Tamil diaspora youth organisations pledges to continue struggle against genocide

Delegates represent their country organisations at T-League's second annual general meeting A worldwide coalition of Tamil youth organisations, Global Tamil Youth League (T-League), pledged to continue the struggle against the genocide faced by the Tamil nation and work towards a political solution that was based on the Tamil nation's right to self-determination, at its second annual conference held on the 7th - 8th April. In a resolution unanimously adopted by all of the coalition's member organisations, T-League called for 'the establishment of an independent, international mechanism to ensure truth, accountability and justice ', and pledged to work 'to achieve a political solution that recognises the uncompromising, fundamental principles of the Tamil freedom struggle ', 'to raise awareness about the ongoing multi-faceted genocide unleashed on the Tamil people by the Sri Lankan state' and 'to promote the identity of the Tamil nation '.

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