proposals for New Delhi
The Indian High Commission in Colombo will next week forward the
joint opposition proposal to invite Indian monitors to join the
presently exclusive Scandinavian team of the Sri Lanka Monitoring
Mission (SLMM) for New Delhi's consideration, the mission's political
officer Taranjeet Sandhu said yesterday.
said a decision on the matter rested with New Delhi. The joint opposition
on Friday criticised the role of the Norwegian-led SLMM, accusing
it of bias towards the LTTE and asked that the representation be
issued by the opposition named India as one of the countries that
should join the SLMM. The opposition also asked that two other countries
be in the monitoring mission, but did not name them.
minister Lakshman Kadirgamar who presented the joint opposition
statement to the media on Friday confirmed that President Chandrika
Kumaratunga had briefed Indian political leaders during her recent
visit to New Delhi about the partiality of the Norwegian-led SLMM,
especially on the issues relating to the Sea Tigers.
Commissioner Nirupam Sen was summoned to New Delhi last Sunday immediately
after The Sunday Times exclusively reported the SLMM working paper
calling on the Sri Lankan government to recognise the Sea Tigers.
SLMM referred to the existence of a 'third force' at sea near Sri
Lanka -- other than the Sri Lanka Navy and the Sea Tigers -- after
a Chinese fishing trawler was sunk and sailors on board were killed.
holds talks to get LTTE back
By Chris Kamalendran
Minister and Up-Country People's Front leader P Chandrasekeran at
a meeting with LTTE Political Wing leader S. P. Thamilselvan on
Friday urged the Tigers to get back to the peace talks.
said that during the two-and-half hour meeting he told Mr. Thamilselvan
that the people in the South and elsewhere did not want a war and
the LTTE leader had said the Tigers also did not want war.
said he had held the talks in his capacity as UPF leader and not
as a minister but he would brief Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe
on the outcome.
Prior to the
meeting with LTTE political wing leader Minister Chandrasekeran
hosted the LTTE cultural troupe to a dinner at his residence on
cultural troupe later left Sri Lanka for a tour of 11 European countries.
The troupe headed by Seraladan head of the LTTE television station
Nidarashanam, was accompanied to the airport by officials of Mr.
Gearing for possible SARS outbreak
Sri Lanka is having a close watch on the SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory
Syndrome) epidemic sweeping across South East Asia and is equipping
itself for any possible outbreak that may occur in the future.
No cases have
been reported in Sri Lanka so far. Nevertheless health officials
are on the alert carrying out tests on patients with respiratory
symptoms. Health Ministry Epidemiological Unit Director Dr. T.A.
Kulatillake said that patients observed for SARS are eventually
discharged as they have not developed any additional symptoms to
confirm having acquired the disease.
continues as an additional precaution, as the number of SARS patients
increased to several thousands in affected countries with death
taking a toll. Hong Kong was the worst hit, while other countries
were pushing for tougher measures to contain the disease.
In Sri Lanka,
a four member sub-committee has been appointed to study means of
controlling a possible SARS outbreak. The sub-committee comprises
Defence Minister Tilak Marapana, Interior Minister John Amaratunga,
Foreign Minister Tyronne Fernando and Tourism Minister Gamini Lokuge.
The members of the sub-committee met on Friday evening to discuss
modalities of combating the virus in case of an outbreak.
are gearing themselves with all necessary protective kit such as
masks and gloves. At the Bandaranaike International Airport, announcements
are made to report to the Quarantine Division if any of the symptoms
of SARS is observed.
At least 1000
masks are being used by airport officials, since virus struck the
Asian region. Sri Lankans are also being discouraged from visiting
SARS-hit countries such as Hong Kong and parts of China, Vietnam
seeks SAARC action on SARS
The Maldives Health Ministry has proposed an emergency meeting of
SAARC Health Ministers on the SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome)
epidemic that has hit more than 40 countries across the world.
Minister Ahmed Abdullah has sent invitations to his counterparts
in other SAARC countries to attend the emergency conference which
is convened to collectively take measures to protect the region
from a SARS outbreak.
With the virus
spreading rapidly in some countries in South East Asia, the meeting
of SAARC countries hopes to collectively work and exchange information
on ways of addressing the dangers posed by the epidemic.