‘Ultimate security’ as Sri Lanka hosts South Asian forum

July 27, 2008 (AFP) – Sri Lanka is ramping up security in its already tightly-guarded capital to unprecedented levels as it prepares to host regional leaders for a major summit amid an escalating war on the Tamil Tigers.

India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will bring thousands of his own security personnel, helicopters and bullet-proof cars, diplomats said.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Pakistan Premier Yousuf Raza Gilani are also expected to bring larger than usual security contingents to Colombo for the two-day summit starting August 2.

Leaders of Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives and Nepal will also have extraordinary security, officials said.

The Tigers have been fighting for an independent homeland for minority Tamils since 1972 and the conflict has left tens of thousands dead.

The fighting has escalated this year as government troops try to dismantle the rebels’ de-facto separate state in the north, where fighting is currently centred, although the rebels also carry out attacks in and around the capital.

Foreign Minister Bogollegama said there would be no let up in the military campaign against the Tigers during the summit.

“There will be no unilateral or bilateral ceasefires,”