TITLE=SRI LANKA - WAR (L-ONLY)
INTRO: The Sri Lankan government says it has
delivered new weapons systems to the northern Jaffna
region as fierce fighting continues. Government
troops are trying to stop the Tamil rebels from
recapturing the city of Jaffna.
Vandana Chopra has more from Colombo.
TEXT: The Sri Lankan military hopes these new weapons
will help stop the rebel offensive which threatens
supply routes to the government troops on the Jaffna
peninsula and threatens the city of Jaffna itself.
Sri Lanka has been on an arms buying spree since rebel
guerillas captured the strategic Elephant Pass
military complex last month and launched an
offensive to re-capture Jaffna, their former
Foreign minister Lakshman Kadirgamar says the
government held talks with arms manufacturers
from seven countries earlier this month in a bid to
build a stronge and better equipped force in the war
The government statement says Tamil rebels have
infiltrated army controlled areas near Jaffna and a
search operation was in progress to locate and destroy
Meanwhile, the government statement says essential
food items, medicines and ammunition were being
regularly supplied to the besieged Palali air base.
Palali serves as the main lifeline in the northern
Jafna region, as there is no
land supply route to government forces and the airbase
is home to the military's main ammunition and fuel
Analysts say if the Palali air base were to fall to
the rebels it would be difficult for the Sri Lankan
government to move men and material to the area.
Government statements about the war are impossible to
confirm since no reporters are allowed in the war
areas and news from Sri Lanka is subject to government
The government forces took control of Jaffna, the
former rebel headquarters, in 1996 and now the rebels
are trying to win it back.
International id officials are expressing growing
concern for the 500-thousand civilians in the northern
Jaffna region where most of the fighting is taking
The Tamil rebels have been fighting for a separate
homeland since 1983. (Signed)
19-May-2000 07:44 AM EDT (19-May-2000 1144 UTC)
Source: Voice of America
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