Sri Lanka Tamils defy ban on rebel memorial

Sri Lanka Tamils defy ban on rebel memorial
Updated 19 May 2013

Sri Lanka Tamils defy ban on rebel memorial

Sri Lanka Tamils defy ban on rebel memorial

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka’s main opposition Tamil party yesterday defied a military ban and staged a commemoration of their war dead as the government celebrated the fourth anniversary of defeating Tamil Tiger rebels.
The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) said it staged the remembrance in the northern town of Vavuniya for those who died in the final battle which also killed Tamil Tiger leader Velupillai Prabhakaran.
“We had a meeting to commemorate all those who died in the conflict,” TNA lawmaker Suresh Premachandran told AFP from Vavuniya, 260 kms north of Colombo.
The event came as Sri Lankan troops held a parades in the capital to mark the victory over Tamil Tiger rebels and an end to 37 years of ethnic bloodshed. The state-run Daily News said the Vavuniya meeting was illegal and warned anyone commemorating the defeated Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) would be jailed.

Witnesses said the TNA-led ceremony ended peacefully amid a heavy police presence in the area, a front-line town near the former war zone in the island’s north.
In the capital Colombo, President Mahinda Rajapakse viewed the military parade showcasing heavy weapons used against the Tigers who were known for their ferocious suicide bomb attacks.
“We will not allow a single inch of the land that you won by the sacrifice of your life to be taken away,” Rajapakse said. “There will be no room for separation.”
A naval craft taking part in the celebrations capsized and a search was on for an officer who was reported missing after the accident, a military official said, adding that the other four crew members had been rescued.
The military offensive which crushed the Tigers had triggered allegations of war crimes with rights groups saying that up to 40,000 civilians perished in the last months of fighting alone.


Duterte: Philippines wants more cooperation with Pakistan, Russia, India

Updated 36 min 37 sec ago

Duterte: Philippines wants more cooperation with Pakistan, Russia, India

Duterte: Philippines wants more cooperation with Pakistan, Russia, India
  • The president wants to cooperate with Pakistan and Russia in the areas of counterterrorism and healthcare
  • Duterte also promised to expand defense cooperation with India

MANILA: President Rodrigo Duterte has expressed the Philippines’ interest in expanding cooperation with Pakistan and Russia in the areas of counterterrorism and healthcare, especially in the fight against coronavirus.
His comments came as he received the credentials of several new envoys to Manila on Wednesday.
“Let me extend our military-to-military exchanges and sharing of intelligence and best practices, particularly in countering terrorism and violence,” Duterte told Pakistani Ambassador Dr. Imtiaz Ahmad Kazi.
He praised Duterte’s “far-sighted policies” and “leadership, which has brought so many dividends for the Republic of the Philippines.” The two countries enjoy “long, enduring ties of friendship and cooperation,” Kazi said. “In fact, we started off in 1949, when a consulate of the Philippines was opened in Karachi.” He referred to the island region of Mindanao, which has a significant Muslim population and has seen numerous outbreaks of militancy and separatism.
“We, in Pakistan, admire the consistent endeavors of your excellency towards restoration of peace and stability in the Mindanao region, which has brought increased trust and stability among the stakeholders, and significant prosperity for the people of the region and the country,” Kazi said.
In 2017, Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao following a five-month siege of Marawi City by Daesh-affiliated militants.
During Wednesday’s ceremony, Duterte also promised to expand defense cooperation with India as he welcomed New Delhi’s Ambassador Shambhu Kumaran.
Duterte said relations between India and the Philippines are driven by synergies between his administration’s independent foreign policy and New Delhi’s “Act East” policy.
“The Philippines is committed to further enhance cooperation with India in defense, security, trade and investments, and in combating the COVID-19 pandemic,” he told Kumaran.
The ambassador said India would like to explore “various opportunities for cooperation in new areas such as space, and to work towards ensuring a stable, peaceful and prosperous Indo-Pacific by working together in the areas of defense and maritime security.” Accepting the letter of credence from Russian Ambassador Marat Pavlov, Duterte said the Philippines considers Russia a good friend and partner.
“We aim for an even more robust and deeper cooperation in the coming years,” Duterte told Pavlov. “We thank Russia for its offer to supply (the coronavirus vaccine) Sputnik V and share its technology on vaccine production with the Philippines.” Russia and the Philippines have agreed to conduct the vaccine’s Phase 3 clinical trials together, as Moscow promised to share its vaccine technology with Manila and pledged to build a pharmaceutical facility in the country.
Duterte repeated his invitation for Russian President Vladimir Putin to visit the Philippines, as next year the countries will mark their 45th anniversary of diplomatic relations.
“It will be an opportunity to celebrate and reaffirm the enduring friendship and cooperation between our countries,” Duterte said.