22 Reports

French diplomat comments on SL withdrawal of co-sponsorship of UNHRC Resolution

[TamilNet, Friday, 28 February 2020, 16:37 GMT]
A top French diplomat, engaged in geopolitical negotiations with the SL leaders in Colombo has gone on record stating that the SL decision to withdraw from co-sponsorship of the UN Human Rights Council Resolution did not mean that the resolution had disappeared from the table. Agence France-Presse (AFP) filed a news report citing Thierry Mathou, the director of Asia and Oceania for the French Foreign Ministry, as saying that the UNHRC resolution was “legally binding”. The AFP report comes in the wake of the recently observed trend in which France is trying to deepen its cooperation with the unitary state of genocidal Sri Lanka as part of operationalising its Indo-Pacific Strategy.
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Michelle Bachelet calls Tamils a ‘minority’

[TamilNet, Thursday, 27 February 2020, 23:23 GMT]
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, who gave an oral update on her annual report on the human rights situation in “Sri Lanka” recognised the fundamental problem in the island as that the state of “Sri Lanka” not addressing impunity for past violations. The SL State has not undertaken the security sector reforms needed to address the “drivers and enablers” of the violations, she said. The UN Rights Chief was also regretting to the SL withdrawal of co-sponsorship to the consensus UNHRC resolutions noted that the new SL government had announced a “very different approach” to the commitments previously made. However, Ms Bachelet referred to the occupied nation of Eezham Tamils with a distinct homeland in the North-East as a “minority” in the island.
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UN continues to commit systemic failure through recognising constitution of genocidal “Sri Lanka”

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 26 February 2020, 23:34 GMT]
One of the main underlying arguments used by the SL State to withdraw its “co-sponsorship” of the UNHRC Resolution was that the past SL government had co-sponsored it violating the principles and framework of the so-called Constitution of the unitary state of genocidal Sri Lanka. That “Constitution” is fundamentally illegal as far as the occupied nation of Eezham Tamils is concerned. So far, “co-sponsorship” with the genocidal state and “containment” of the genocide-affected nation, was the narrative played out in the UN Human Rights Council. If the entire Geneva-based discourse was meant to be a remedy for what the UN itself has accepted as the systemic failure on its part, it just got “downgraded” into a systemic failure of the UNHRC. The global community has a shared responsibility not to allow the domino effect of the ‘systemic failure’ spiral itself in a vicious circle.
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Visiting Zambian commander requests military training from genocidal Sri Lanka

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 25 February 2020, 22:13 GMT]
The Republic of Zambia, a landlocked Southern-Central African country, which is struggling with spiralling debt due to China’s Road and Belt Initiative (BRI) investments, has stepped up bilateral relationships with the SL State since last year during Maithiripala Sirisena’s presidency. Zambian Army Commander Lieutenant General William Sikazwe is on a five-day visit to the island since Friday to strengthen the military training and cooperation ties between the countries. Acting SL Chief of Defence Staff and Army Commander Shavendra Silva met the Zambian commander on Monday and discussed bilateral cooperation and exchange of training programmes with the visiting Zambian commander.
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Islamabad establishes close rapport with Colombo

[TamilNet, Monday, 24 February 2020, 23:00 GMT]
Pakistan’s High Commissioner, Muhammad Saad Khattak, a retired Major General, has met SL President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, extending Pakistan’s “cooperation in defense, trade, people-to-people relations, countering extremism, promoting religious harmony and in any other area Sri Lanka would need,” reported SL State-owned newspaper Daily News on Monday. In the meantime, informed sources in Colombo said SL President has promised to promote South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) in favour of Pakistan, through the new Secretary-General of the SAARC, Esala Weerakoon. India wants Colombo to work more closely with BIMSTEC and in a trilateral maritime security programme, also involving the Maldives.
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Gunawardena to announce SL withdrawal of “co-sponsorship” to UN Resolution on Wednesday

[TamilNet, Saturday, 22 February 2020, 22:11 GMT]
SL Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena will be heading a delegation to the 43rd Session of the Human Rights Council. The SL FM would formally inform the Council Members on the decision by the Rajapaksas regime to withdraw its co-sponsorship of Resolution 40/1 of March 2019 on Wednesday 26 February, the SL ministry said in a news release issued on Saturday. Meanwhile, JVP, a Sinhala nationalist party in the South, which is also opposed to the UNHRC resolution, said the withdrawal of co-sponsorship would not “make it disappear”. The resolution remained in force even after the US, which co-sponsored it withdrew its membership from the UNHRC itself said JVP General Secretary Tilvin Silva addressing a news conference on Friday.
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SL departure from 30/1 could step up external intervention as blessing in disguise: Mavai

[TamilNet, Thursday, 20 February 2020, 23:22 GMT]
If the SL government opts to withdraw from its commitments to the co-sponsored UNHRC Resolution 30/1, such a move will end up escalating the external interference in the island, said Tamil parliamentarian Mavai Senathirajah during his address to the SL Parliament on Thursday. The international intervention was needed to resolve the national question, which is being ignored by the Sinhala politicians, both ruling and the opposition, even after experiencing high financial burden during the three decades of war, he said. While registering ITAK's strong objections to SL Government's reported discourse towards the closure of co-sponsored commitments to the Geneva resolution, the ITAK Leader said the external interference would continue to prevail until the root cause, the ethnic conflict, is resolved.
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Gota silent, Mahinda belatedly responds, Silva evokes Buddhist sentiments with SL Chief Justice

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 19 February 2020, 23:44 GMT]
Acting SL Chief of Defence Staff and SL Army Commander Shavendra Silva, subjected to a travel ban along with his immediate family members by the US State Department on Friday, was gracing a “mammoth multifaceted Anuradhapura ‘Swarnamali Thupabhivandana’, meritorious programme” on Saturday, said SL Army website on Sunday. In the meantime, SL President and Commander-in-Chief Gotabaya Rajapaksa, a US citizen, remained silent without commenting anything on the travel ban. Meanwhile, SL Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa has issued a statement, attacking the report of the 2011 UN Panel of Experts as “unofficial” and the 2015 OHCHR report and the UNHRC Resolution 30/1 as being based upon the 2011 “unofficial” report, which he described as the source of “unfounded allegations”.
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Japanese Ambassador invites Gotabaya to Tokyo conference, discusses ECT

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 18 February 2020, 11:15 GMT]
Japan’s Ambassador Akira Sugiyama called on SL President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Monday to discuss the Eastern Container Terminal (ECT), which was put on project pipeline during the previous regime as well as to look into the prospects for liquefied natural gas project. He was also inviting Mr Rajapaksa to attend the 26th international conference on “The future of Asia”, an annual global conference sponsored by Nikkei, a large media corporation in Japan. The Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe would be meeting Mr Rajapaksa during the visit on May 28-29.
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US Embassy in Colombo: No policy shift on ‘Sri Lanka’ engagement

[TamilNet, Monday, 17 February 2020, 23:19 GMT]
Colombo-based News 1st quoted the US Embassy as clarifying that there were no additional restrictions on US military engagement with the SL State, other than the public designation on SL Army Commander Lt Gen Shavendra Silva announced on Friday. There was no curtailing of US military assistance to Colombo, the news report said. The designation didn't represent a shift in policy, the report said.
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US congressional delegation meets Mahinda Rajapaksa in Colombo

[TamilNet, Saturday, 15 February 2020, 23:43 GMT]
A day after US State Secretary Mike Pompeo imposed a travel ban on SL Army commander Lt General Shavendra Silva and his immediate family members against visiting the US, two US Congressmen met SL Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa in Colombo on Saturday. US Ambassador Alaina B. Teplitz accompanied Amerish Babulal Bera (Ami Bera) of the Democratic Party and George Edward Bell Holding of the Republican party, who met Mr Rajapaksa. The US delegation discussed “strengthening of relations” in counter-terrorism, tourism & energy sectors, reported the Daily Mirror. The report didn't have any reference to the US blacklisting.
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Philippines scraps US “Visiting Forces Agreement”

[TamilNet, Thursday, 13 February 2020, 22:15 GMT]
The President of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, has terminated a critical military pact his country was having with the US since 1998, on Tuesday. The scrapping of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) was a move “in the wrong direction,” responded US Defence Secretary Mark Esper. In the meantime, US Indo-Pacific commander Adm. Philip S. Davidson on Thursday said he was expecting the US State Department to negotiate with the Philippines to sustain the VFA. China and the Philippines have been at loggerheads over the former’s claims of sovereignty in the South China Sea since 2012. However, President Duterte, elected in 2016, was favouring a “multi-polar” world order as being ‘officially’ envisaged by SL President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Duterte has plans to launch a resident mission in Colombo in 2020.
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Israel’s balancing act with China ‘inspires’ Colombo

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 12 February 2020, 22:00 GMT]
Dr Ron Malka, the ambassador of Israel to India and Sri Lanka, paid a courtesy call on SL President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Wednesday morning. Israel is ready to strengthen bilateral relationships with Colombo, reported SL State-owned newspaper Daily News. Mr Rajapaksa was seeking Israeli assistance to modernize agriculture, the paper said. However, there is more to the re-emerging nexus between Tel Aviv and Colombo. In January, a “think-tanker” of the SL Ministry of Defence was comparing Israel permitting China to operate its Haifa port with SL State’s leasing of Hambantota port to China. In the meantime, China and Israel, after having secret talks for several years, are set to conclude a trade pact in 2020 despite repeated warnings from US State Secretary Mike Pompeo, the Foreign Policy reported earlier this month.
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Mike Pompeo slammed, Mahinda Rajapaksa praised over China comments

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 11 February 2020, 16:59 GMT]
China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang was commending SL Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa for ‘positive’ remarks on China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) during his recent visit to India. Mr Shuang, who is also the deputy director of China’s Foreign Ministry Information Department, was praising Mr Rajapaksa, although the latter had prioritised India as a “relation” over China, which he described a “friend” during his recent trip to India. Mr Shuang, in his daily briefing online, was responding to questions from journalists on matters ranging from the epidemic caused by novel coronavirus pneumonia in Wuhan to Indo-Pacific geopolitics. China was firmly opposed to US State Secretary Mike Pompeo's recent speech, which “fraught with Cold-War mentality and political prejudice,” the Chinese spokesman said.
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Trump to visit India, Pentagon clears air defence system for New Delhi

[TamilNet, Monday, 10 February 2020, 23:56 GMT]
The US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump will be visiting New Delhi later this month on February 24-25, 2020, according to a news release issued by the White House on Monday. “The President and The First Lady will travel to New Delhi and Ahmedabad, which is in Prime Minister Modi’s home state of Gujarat and played such an important role in Mahatma Gandhi’s life and leadership of the Indian independence movement,” the news release noted. In the meantime, US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) also issued a statement stating that it had cleared a deal of Integrated Air Defence Weapon System (IADWS) at an estimated cost of $1.867 billion with India, on Monday.
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Rajapaksa commits to Indo-US maritime agenda, seeks three-year moratorium on loans

[TamilNet, Sunday, 09 February 2020, 23:43 GMT]
“We have decided that we must have more intelligence sharing now, and increase the technical assistance [from India], as well as training. [...] In addition, we want to continue our earlier [pre-2015] project for tri-lateral terror and security cooperation between Maldives-India-Sri Lanka. We might have the meeting for that as soon as possible, possibly in the Maldives and discuss how to take the trilateral idea forward,” said Mahinda Rajapaksa in an interview to The Hindu on Saturday. Furthermore, the SL PM told the paper that Colombo was expecting “a moratorium on all loan repayments for three years until we can revive the economy”.
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‘Sinhala Neighbourhood First’ approach unfolds in New Delhi

[TamilNet, Saturday, 08 February 2020, 22:20 GMT]
SL Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa was not reciprocating Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “confidence” that Colombo would “realize the expectations of the Tamil people for equality, justice, peace, and respect within a united Sri Lanka.” Both the leaders held a joint media presence in New Delhi on Saturday. Mr Modi said that it would be “necessary to carry forward the process of reconciliation with the implementation of the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution of Sri Lanka.” Mr Rajapaksa, who read out a statement after Modi’s speech, was not making any reference to “united” or “13th Amendment”. The same pattern was also witnessed during SL President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s visit to India in November 2019. It is evident that Mr Modi was making concessions to Colombo in return for its compliance to the maritime security concerns of New Delhi, political observers in Jaffna said.
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China, Vietnam block joint statement against genocidal Myanmar in UN Security Council

[TamilNet, Thursday, 06 February 2020, 20:12 GMT]
The Republic of China, one of the five UN Security Council (UNSC) permanent members and Vietnam, one of the ten nonpermanent members for the 2020-2021 term, were opposing a joint declaration on Myanmar earlier this week. The proposed statement was seeking Myanmar to comply with the recent provisional judgement delivered by the International Court of Justice at a closed-door meeting of the UNSC. Meanwhile, all the permanent members of the UNSC, except China, seem to be backing India on the status of the occupied Kashmir. However, UNSC’s EU member states, France, Estonia, Germany and Belgium issued a joint statement urging Myanmar to “comply with the provisional measures indicated by the ICJ.”
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Russian commander to inspect SLN marines groomed by US Indo-Pacific Command

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 05 February 2020, 23:42 GMT]
Russia’s Commander-in-Chief of the Land Forces and General of the Army Oleg Salyukov who is visiting the island with a military delegation from his country will be inspecting the SL Marine Academy of genocidal Sri Lanka at Champoor in Trincomalee on Thursday. The Russian army delegation is discussing “bilateral cooperation, training of Sri Lanka military personnel in higher education institutions of the Russian Land forces, participation of Sri Lankan teams in the Army international games-2020, and conduction of joint exercises,” according to Russian state-run news agency, TASS.
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Eezham Tamils in North-East mark Feb 04 as Black Day

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 04 February 2020, 22:22 GMT]
Eezham Tamils in the occupied Tamil Eelam also this year didn't show interest in the so-called Independence Day on Tuesday. As an occupied nation of people, they not only remained aloof from the celebrations of hoisting the SL national flag or getting involved in the anthem of the occupying unitary state of genocidal Sri Lanka but marked the day as Black Day. Only the occupying SL military was celebrating the day. Grassroots activists, Tamil parliamentarians and political activists joined the Black Day protests staged by the kith and kin of persons subjected to enforced disappearance at the hands of the occupying SL military. Black Day protests were held in Ki'linochchi, Batticaloa and Trincomalee with significant participation.
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February 04 Black Day marks 72 years of genocide, prolonged colonial rule

[TamilNet, Monday, 03 February 2020, 22:26 GMT]
The nation of Eezham Tamils is subjected to protracted genocide with a systematic structural genocide for 72 years since February 04, 1948, the day of so-called ‘Independence’ from the British colonial rule. But, for the nation of Eezham Tamils in the island, it is a Black Day marking prolonged colonial rule and continued subjugation. It is also a day to remember international injustice that has rendered Eezham Tamils non-self governing, said President P. Ujanthan and Secretary R. Kopishanth of the Arts Students’ Union of the University of Jaffna in a statement issued on Monday.
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Colombo's navy receives US help to ‘safeguard strategic lines of communication’

[TamilNet, Saturday, 01 February 2020, 18:15 GMT]
US Deputy Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs Joanthan Henick has said that the US was growing its “broad and multi-faceted strategic partnership” with quadrilateral partner India. At the same time, his office was also “helping Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Maldives equip and train their navies and coast guards to safeguard strategic lines of communication,” Mr Henick said while addressing the Foreign Press Centre in Washington, D.C., along with his colleague in charge of East Asia and a mission director of the USAID on the subject of “The U.S. Vision for the Indo-Pacific Region” on Thursday.
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