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Polls won’t impede Indo-Lanka talks on ‘financial measures’ to save SL economy



By Shamindra Ferdinando

The upcoming general election will not impede ongoing talks between India and Sri Lanka on re-scheduling of bilateral debt repayment, according to authoritative sources.

Asked whether a consensus could be reached before the general election, sources answered in the negative. They, however, explained that relevant officials were continuing deliberations in that regard.

Indian and Sri Lankan officials held a video conference on July 22 to discuss re-scheduling of bilateral debt repayment.

 The Indian delegation consisted of senior External Affairs, Finance, and the EXIM Bank officials whereas Sri Lanka was represented by the Department of External Resources.

Talks followed President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Premier Mahinda Rajapaksa, who is also the Finance Minister having telephone conversations with Indian leader Narendra Modi, on May 23 and 27, respectively. Subsequently, Indian High Commissioner Gopal Baglay again took up the matter on May 29 leading to the Indian High Commission in Colombo engaging the government to pave the way for talks on re-scheduling of bilateral debt repayment.

 The next round of technical discussions between the two sides on rescheduling of debt repayment is expected to be held soon though not before the election.

 Earlier President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said that the economy was in dire straits due to major revenue sources, namely garment exports, foreign remittances and tourism being badly affected as a result of corona epidemic.

 Sources said that in addition to the re-scheduling of debt repayment, Sri Lanka had sought 1.1 billion USD under the SWAP facility to top up the USD 400 million SAARC facility to assist Sri Lanka in overcoming its foreign exchange crisis. Sources said that USD 400 mn facility had been finalized whereas discussions were yet to take place as regards the USD 1.1 bn currency swap facility. Discussions were expected after the general election.

Responding to another query, sources said that once the election was concluded talks on re-scheduling of debt repayment and USD 1.1 bn currency swap facility could take place.

 Asked for the Samagi Jana Balavegaya’s response to ongoing talks with India, SJB Colombo District candidate Dr. Harsha de Silva said: “We will certainly work with all our friends around the world to see how they could help us. We will continue all negotiations and we are confident we could arrive at solutions that would help us tide over the difficulties.”


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Advisory for strong winds and rough seas for naval and fisher communities in the deep-sea areas in the South-eastern Arabian Sea




Advisory for strong winds and rough seas issued by the Natural Hazards Early Warning Centre at 12.30 p.m. 18 May 2024

Naval and Fisher communities in the deep-sea areas in the South-eastern Arabian Sea have been warned  that strong winds accompanied with heavy rainfalls and very rough seas are likely over the sea areas around the country and over the South-eastern Arabian Sea areas during the next few days.

Naval and fishing communities are advised not to venture into the sea areas marked RED color on the map below until further notice.

Naval and fishing communities are also requested to be attentive to future forecasts issued by the Department of Meteorology in this regard.

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President leaves for Indonesia




President Ranil Wickremesinghe left for Indonesia this morning (18) to attend the 10th World Water Forum high-level meeting in Bali.

The President is scheduled to address the forum on Monday (20).

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Bipartisan US Congress legislation calls for self-determination for Eelam Tamils




…proposes South Sudan, Montenegro, East Timor, Bosnia, Eritrea, and Kosovo style solution

A controversial resolution has been introduced to the US Congress calling on the United States to work towards an independence referendum for Eelam Tamils and recognize the genocide committed against them by the Sri Lankan state.

The resolution, introduced by Wiley Nickel, is the first of its kind to be brought to the US Congress. It comes as Tamils marked the LTTE’s defeat 15 years ago, with May 18 commemorated as Tamil Genocide Remembrance Day, worldwide.

The resolution calls for the “no recurrence of past violence, including the ‘Tamil Genocide’, by supporting the right to self-determination of Eelam Tamil people and their call for an independence referendum for a lasting peaceful resolution”.

It goes on to detail historic Tamil support for independence and how “similar conflicts have successfully been democratically, peacefully, and legally resolved by exercising the right to self-determination by the people in countries such as South Sudan, Montenegro, East Timor, Bosnia, Eritrea, and Kosovo via independence referendums with support from the United States and other countries”.

It resolves that the House of Representatives:

(1) urges the United States to strengthen diplomatic channels with the Eelam Tamils and collaborate toward peace and stability in the South Asian region of the Indo-Pacific;

(2) urges the United States and the international community to advocate for and protect the political rights of the Eelam Tamil people and work toward a permanent political solution based on their right to self-determination that is democratically and peacefully approved by them through a universally accepted process of independence referendum; and

(3) recognizes the genocide against the Eelam Tamil people by Sri Lanka.

The resolution has bipartisan support and is co-sponsored by Susan Wild, Danny K. Davis, Nicole Malliotakis, Mike Carey, Donald G. Davis, Summer L. Lee, and Jeff Jackson.

The full text of the resolution: “This conflict shattered families and communities, leaving deep scars that are still felt to this day,” said Nickel as he addressed the United States Congress today (May 15).

“My resolution recognizes the genocide in Sri Lanka and affirms the right of Tamils to self-determination through a democratic process.” Nickel stated that the resolution “emphasises the need for a peaceful and democratic solution to ongoing tensions in Sri Lanka”.

“It advocates an independence referendum, a process that has been used successfully to resolve similar conflicts in other parts of the world. This echoes our commitment to democratic principles and underscores our support for human rights globally.”

“The resolution is a significant step forward in our struggle for self-determination,” said an Eelam Tamil activist who worked closely with US representatives, from Washington DC. They were present alongside dozens of others, as Nickel spoke.

“This is the first time that support for an independent Tamil Eelam has been publicly and explicitly advocated for at the United States Congress. Fifteen years since the end of the Mullivaikkal genocide, our struggle is continuing and support for it has only grown. We are not a defeated people.”

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