- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 20, 2002

Sri Lanka peace bid still not scheduled

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka The government said Thursday that no date has been set to begin peace talks with the Tamil rebels to end nearly two decades of ethnic bloodshed.
Norwegian peace facilitators are working to find an acceptable date for the talks to be held in Thailand, Constitutional Affairs Minister G.L. Peiris told reporters.
The peace talks had been expected to begin in June or July. Tamil representatives reported this week that government sources had said they could be pushed back to late August or early September.
Mr. Peiris said the parties have until Aug. 2 to implement various aspects of the February cease-fire agreement. The February accord was the first part of a Norwegian-sponsored initiative to end the conflict that has taken more than 60,000 lives.

Press is casualty in Burma-Thai spat
BANGKOK Press freedom in Burma and Thailand has become a casualty of a diplomatic brawl between the neighboring nations that erupted this year, two media rights group say.
"Once again, Burmese and Thai journalists are victims of the tensions between their respective governments," Reporters Without Borders General Secretary Robert Menard said in a joint statement with the Burma Media Association.
Thailand-Burma relations soured in May after clashes along the border when ethnic Shan rebels overran Burmese military bases. A tit-for-tat series of bans began on June 28, when Thailand blacklisted Ma Tin Win, author of a series of articles in Burma's official press.

India names 6 states as hosting terrorists
NEW DELHI An Indian minister at midweek named six countries, including Britain and the Netherlands, as having been infiltrated by terrorist groups working to harm India.
In a written reply to a question in Parliament, Junior Foreign Minister Digvijay Singh said "terrorist organizations" had established new bases in Britain, the Netherlands, Burma, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan.
In response to a separate question, Mr. Singh said New Delhi had raised with Britain the issue of groups raising funds there for terrorist activities in Kashmir and elsewhere in India.
The minister added that the British government had been "sensitized" on the issue. "The government will continue to pursue this matter at appropriate levels with the British authorities," Mr. Singh said.

Weekly notes
Kazakhstan opposition leader Mukhtar Ablyazov was sentenced two days ago to six years in prison for abuse of office while he was energy minister, adding to concerns of a clampdown on opposition in the country. The United States is planning to sell Pakistan six heavy-duty C-130 aircraft, a U.S. Embassy official said. The aircraft sale is the latest reward for Islamabad's support in the U.S.-led war against terrorism.


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