SRI LANKA: FRESH OFFENSIVES PLANNED TO FORCE TAMIL TIGERS BACK TO THE NEGOTIATING TABLE
- Title: SRI LANKA: FRESH OFFENSIVES PLANNED TO FORCE TAMIL TIGERS BACK TO THE NEGOTIATING TABLE
- Date: 24th January 1995
- Summary: BATTICALOA, SRI LANKA (RECENT) (RTV - ACCESS ALL) 1. SV BATTICALOA 0.04 2. SV PEOPLE SELLING GOODS ON STREET 0.19 3. SV SRI LANKAN GOVERNMENT SOLDIER ON STREET 0.22 4. SV SRI LANKAN GOVERNMENT SOLDIER CHECKING BIKE 0.26 5. SV SRI LANKAN GOVERNMENT SOLDIERS WITH GUNS 0.30 6. SV SRI LANKAN GOVERNMENT SOLDIER CHECKING PACKAGES 0.33 7. SV SRI LANKAN GOVERNMENT SOLDIER STANDING BEHIND SANDBAGS 0.37 8. SV SRI LANKAN GOVERNMENT SOLDIER CHECKING WOMAN'S BAG 0.41 9. SV SRI LANKAN GOVERNMENT SOLDIERS 0.46 10. SV REBEL DEPUTY POLITICAL LEADER SIVAGNANAM KARIKALAN STANDING WITH TIGERS 0.57 11. SCU KARIKALAN SAYING THE WAR IS FOR TAMIL EELAM, BUT IF THE GOVERNMENT WANTS TO STOP THAT WAR, AND IS WILLING TO TALK, THEN WE ARE WILLING TO TALK IN ORDER TO SEEK A RESOLUTION (TAMIL) 1.18 12. SV KARIKALAN TALKING TO SCHOOL CHILDREN AT LOCAL SCHOOL 1.24 13. SV JESUIT PRIEST FATHER HARRY MILLER BEING INTERVIEWED 1.28 14. SCU FATHER HARRY MILLER SPEAKING (ENGLISH) 1.53 15. SV SECURITY SHOTS AROUND BATTICALOA 2.00 SEQUENCE 14 TRANSCRIPT: MILLER : "THERE IS NO TRUE SECURITY FOR THE PEOPLE HERE FROM THE TIGERS. WE MUST LIVE WITH THE TIGERS. IS THE ARMY GOING TO BE ABLE TO CHANGE THAT? WE DON'T SEE HOW." Initials Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.
- Reuters ID: LVA10YRPZ4TWRUESUH326EMZEZA2
- Location: BATTICALOA, SRI LANKA
- Country: Sri Lanka
- Duration: 00:02:03
- Story Text: The eastern Sri Lankan town of Batticaloa has become the focus of government army operations following the fall of Jaffna town in December, with the government saying fresh offensives were planned in the east to force the Tamil Tigers back to the negotiating table.
The Deputy Defence Minister, Anuruddha Ratwatte, has said the redeployed armed forces were planning new operations in the east to beat the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) into submission and force them into reopening talks.
Batticaloa town struggles to go about its daily business, but now it closes down at dusk and no one is able to move outside the area until morning. Government army checkpoints have become a familiar sight at entry points into the city.
The Sri Lankan government recently unveiled a devolution package for minority Tamils, offering them wide-ranging executive, legislative and judicial powers.
The deputy political leader of the LTTE, Sivagnanam Karikalan, said in a recent interview that the Tigers would be willing to talk, but only under the right conditions.
Karikalan said the war was for Tamil Eelam. "If the government wants to stop that war and is willing to talk, then we are willing to talk in order to seek a resolution," he said.
Karikalan denied that the Tigers were against peace talks, and accused the governnment of failing to fulfil certain conditions.
The LTTE is fighting for a homeland in the north and east in a war which has claimed the lives of more than 50,000 people since 1983.
The LTTE and the government of President Chandrika Kumaratunga launched peace talks in 1994. A ceasefire which began on January 8, 1995, lasted 100 days before the Tigers resumed hostilities, accusing Colombo of insincerity and unnecessary delays.
But Jesuit priest Harry Miller, who has been in the region since 1948 as a teacher, has said the key to peace in Sri Lanka was preserving its multi-ethnic make-up and recognising that the Tigers would always have a presence.
Miller told Reuters: "There is no true security for the people here from the Tigers. We must live with the Tigers. Is the army going to be able to change that? We don't see how." Miller said he was sceptical about the prospects for devolution: "I don't see that there is any process underfoot now that will solve the problem," he said.
The armed forces have launched limited offensives against LTTE guerrillas in the east in a bid to cut off the rebels' access to eastern towns from their jungle bases.
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