The Web Sri Lanka In Focus

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Chinese company gets contract for construction at Lanka port

The government of Sri Lanka has offered a leading Chinese company the contract to build a fuel tank farm and bunkering facility at the new harbour at Hambantota in the southern part of the country, a media report said here Thursday.

"The unsolicited project proposal sent by the China Huanqiu Contracting and Engineering Corporation for building the bunkering facility and tank farm at the Hambantota harbour has been approved by the project committee and the cabinet-appointed negotiations committee," the state-run Daily News reported.

According to the agreement, the total value of the project would be $76.5 million and it would be completed by 2010.

A set of fuel tanks, bunkering facilities, aviation fuel storage facilities and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) storage facilities will be built as part of the project at Hambantota, about 230 km south of Colombo.

The facilities would be constructed in such a way that they would be able to operate independently with separate loading arms and pipelines connecting the oil and gas jetty.

There is a proposal to take a loan for the project from the Exim Bank in China, the newspaper said.

The Hambantota Port Development Project consists of four stages and is expected to be completed within 15 years. Under the first phase of the project, an industrial port with a 1,000 metre jetty and an oil refinery estimated to cost $1 billion would be constructed.

Although the Hambantota port was initially planned as a service and industrial port, it is expected to be developed as a trans-shipment port at a later stage to handle 20 million containers per year.

Source: newkerala

Lanka ready to revive talks with LTTE

In an apparent softening of its stand, Sri Lanka has offered to hold talks with the LTTE after a two-year gap, saying the outfit does represent a "fair amount" of Tamils but ruled out immediate revival of the ceasefire scrapped in January.

"The (Sri Lankan) President has already announced that he is ready to talk (with the LTTE)," Basil Rajapaksa, the powerful Special Advisor to the President Mahinda Rajapaksa, said.

On whether the President has specified that he will not talk unless the LTTE lays down arms, Basil merely said "those are conditions that have to be worked out".

"The government is always open to talks but the government needs to have a certain environment in which we can talk," Basil, an MP and brother of the Sri Lankan President, told the Daily Mirror newspaper.

On being asked whether the LTTE represented the Tamil people, the senior advisor said "yes, they represent the Tamil people but they are not the only ones. That has been proved.

"But this doesn't mean they don't have the strength or that they represent no Tamils," he said.

"They (the LTTE) do represent a fair amount of Tamil people. Unfortunately their way of doing it can't be approved. Otherwise the President is always willing to have negotiations and a settlement. The best scenario is where we negotiate and settle it with the LTTE," Basil said.

The two sides had six round of talks after the 2002 ceasefire but the rebels pulled out in 2006. The peace process received a crushing blow in January when the government scrapped the tattered ceasefire, a move that unleashed a fresh wave of violence as the military intensified its offencive against the Tamil Tigers in the north.

Source: pti