BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: World: South Asia
Front Page 
World 
Africa 
Americas 
Asia-Pacific 
Europe 
Middle East 
South Asia 
-------------
From Our Own Correspondent 
-------------
Letter From America 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 

Monday, 16 April, 2001, 14:20 GMT 15:20 UK
Sri Lanka gets fresh weapons
Sri Lankan rocket launcher in action
Rocket launchers were used to stall a rebel advance
Arms worth an estimated $2.5m have been delivered to Sri Lanka despite an ongoing peace initiative with Tamil Tiger rebels.

The shipment is from the Czech Republic, which is a key supplier of military hardware to Sri Lanka.

A military spokesperson said the timing of the shipment had nothing to do with the peace initiative.

A date for talks between the two sides would be announced by the end of this month, he said.

Brigadier Sanath Karunaratne refused to name the vessel but said its cargo included multi-barrel rocket launchers which were used to stall a major rebel offensive in April last year.

"The ship arrived with a cargo of arms," he said. "They were part of a consignment ordered last year."

The shipment also included tanks, tank transporters and other military vehicles and is said to be one of the largest single consignments of weapons in recent times.

Ceasefire

In February this year, Pakistan offered Colombo a $20m loan to buy arms.

Islamabad is one of the largest suppliers of military hardware to Sri Lanka, but Colombo also depends on the Czechs for weapons.

Last week Sri Lankan forces began a four-day ceasefire to mark the Sinhalese and Tamil New Year - the only holiday the two communities on the island share.

But in the early hours of Monday a gun battle between the two sides took place off the northern coast, believed to have started after the navy caught the rebels unloading supplies at sea.

More than 64,000 people are estimated to have been killed since the Tamil Tiger rebels began their fight for an independent homeland in the north and east of Sri Lanka nearly 20 years ago.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE
See also:

23 Feb 01 | South Asia
Sri Lanka peace talks 'soon'
22 Feb 01 | South Asia
Sri Lanka Tigers extend ceasefire
13 Feb 01 | South Asia
Pakistan arms loan for Colombo
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more South Asia stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more South Asia stories