EU bans LTTE?

This will have far reaching consequences for the Sri Lankan terrorist organisation which has exhausted the patience of the international community with its belligerence.

The ban is expected to freeze the terror group`s assets, shut down its operations and raids by law enforcement authorities of the member states. Such actions will seriously deplete the terror groups support base and deprive it of the oxygen of civilian support. LTTE fund raising both voluntary and via extortion will drastically reduce.

The LTTE is rapidly getting isolated and its latest ally Norway is also disillusioned. Norwegian Police has already begun carrying out raids against Tamil criminal activity and arrested and deported 28 Tamils within the last few weeks. Computers and files were seized and the Oslo Police are holding onto them.

The European Union was to consider the proscription of LTTE on 17th and 18th May 2006. Quasi Group meeting considered submissions by Euro MP`s on 17th and was in favour of a proscription. A decision is expected shortly with details of the implementation of the proscription.

The current impasse in the peace efforts played heavily on the deliberations of the EU and in whether a full scale ban should be imposed on the LTTE. The EU had already imposed travel ban on the LTTE leaders following the assassination of the former Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar.

Until recently, three Nordic countries Denmark, Finland and Sweden who are members of the EU is said to be opposing total ban against the LTTE. Sources in Brussels state that their position changed as a result of the intransigent position taken by the LTTE and the recent Sri Lankan Monitoring Mission Report.

The LTTE has been trying to intimidate the SLMM, with threats against the physical security of Nordic peace monitors who were travelling on Sri Lankan Navy vessels. The LTTE were particularly aggrieved that the SLMM referred to the LTTE as a non-state actor and the terrorist leaders are reported to have severely reprimanded the SLMM head, Major General Ulf Henricsson. The conduct of the LTTE is not one of a non state actor, but of a non state comedian.

The terrorists also tried to intimidate the SLMM in forcing it to release reports favourable to it, criticising the Sri Lankan army of extra-judicial killings when there was no evidence to support such allegations. The LTTE is known to kill Tamils and put the blame on Sri Lankan security forces in order to bring about international pressure on the Sri Lankan state. The LTTE has a history of never acknowledging its war crimes.

The United States is also encouraging the EU to proscribe the LTTE.

In a last ditch attempt the LTTE`s London based leader, Anton Balasingham has been lobbying heavily against a EU ban. Even its method of lobbying is one of intimidation, by threatening the EU, that if it is banned, the LTTE will be forced to take a more hard line attitude. Balasingham is reported to have stated `The more the international community alienates the LTTE, the more the LTTE will be compelled to tread a hard-line individualist path`.

It is doubtful if the EU or the SLMM is going to be intimidated by terrorists. Humility is a lesson that the LTTE needs to learn in place of its present shot gun diplomacy of threats, assassinations and intimidation.

The EU declaration below in relation to the LTTE proscription is arrived at after taking into consideration the recent LTTE ceasefire breaches, and in particular the attack on the Navy vessels and the suicide attack on General Sarath Fonseka and the assassination of Foreign Minister Lukshman Kadirgamar.

1. Strongly welcomed the move by the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE to return to the negotiating table in February, and condemns, therefore, the LTTE`s unilateral refusal to participate in the second round of negotiations in Geneva that were scheduled for April 2006;

2. Urgently calls on the LTTE to resume peace negotiations with the Government of Sri Lanka without delay, to be prepared to decommission its weapons and to set the stage for a final political settlement of the conflict;

3. Severely condemns the renewed campaign of attacks by the LTTE and the high level of human rights violations committed by both sides and the constant breaches of the ceasefire agreement;

4. Deplores the gross violations of the Cease-Fire Agreement by the LTTE through actions at sea, in particular the attack of 11 May on the Sri Lankan naval force, which resulted in many casualties and put SLMM monitors in grave danger;

5. Calls upon the parties to the Ceasefire Agreement to ensure the security of the SLMM which is an unarmed body invited by both the Government and the LTTE to monitor the Ceasefire Agreement, in order to allow the mission to fulfill its mandate and commends the contributing countries Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden for their invaluable work;

6. Calls on both the LTTE and the Government of Sri Lanka to refrain from further actions liable to jeopardise the peace process, and in particular attacks on civilians;

7. Expresses its condemnation of the appalling abuse of children through the recruitment of child soldiers, which is a war crime, and calls on all rebel groups and notably the LTTE to stop this practice, to release those its holds and to make a declaration of principle not to recruit any children in the future; urges the Government of Sri Lanka to put into place legal measures to prevent and criminalise the practice;

8. Recognises that the LTTE does not represent all the Tamil peoples of Sri Lanka and calls on the LTTE to allow for political pluralism and alternate democratic voices in the north and east parts of Sri Lanka which would secure the interests of all peoples and communities;

9. Strongly condemns the particular repression against Tamil language press or Tamil organisations, and calls for a thorough investigation into the murders of Mayilvaganam Nimalarajan and Dharmeratnam Sivaram as well as the two employees of the newspaper `Uthayan`;

10. Recognises that Sri Lanka`s recent election as a member of the UN Human Rights Council places an obligation on the government to manifest its commitment to uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights;

11. Calls on the Commission and the government of Sri Lanka to ensure the reactivation of Sri Lanka`s Human Rights Commission and stresses the need for an effective independent investigation into all alleged human rights violations by security forces or armed groups, bringing the perpetrators to justice in accordance with international fair trial standards, and insists that all parties should subscribe to comprehensive human rights agreements as a key element of future peace negotiations;

12. As an immediate gesture of goodwill, urges both sides to cease the use of anti-personnel landmines and to assist in their removal and to this end, the Government of Sri Lanka should set an example by signing the Ottawa Convention and the LTTE should sign the Geneva Call `Deed of Commitment`;

13. Worried because a deal to share international aid has still not been implemented, believes that aid sent to Sri Lanka by the EU, and other international donors, in response to the tsunami must benefit the victims of that disaster without regard to their ethnic or religious denomination; but is concerned about the distribution and use of tsunami funds, which have not had the expected impact on the everyday lives of the victims or on Sri Lanka`s recovery; notes that political gridlock on the `Post-Tsunami Operations Management Structure` has already delayed the release of a further `8050 million in aid, hindering reconstruction work in the North and East of Sri Lanka;

14. Deplores that the demands of heavy defence costs have for many years diverted resources away from urgently needed investments in economic and social infrastructure in Sri Lanka;

15. Calls on the EU Member States to do everything in their capacity in order to stop all illegal attempts by the LTTE to uphold a system of forced taxation among sections of the Tamil community living in the European Union;

16. As a part of this process, calls on the Commission and Member States to follow the example of other countries and to freeze the assets of the LTTE associated bank accounts, holdings, companies or undertakings in member states of the European Union;

17. Recognises that the EU has declared that delegations from the LTTE will no longer be received in any of the EU member states until further notice, and that the EU is actively considering the formal listing of the LTTE as a terrorist organisation;

18. Calls on the Council, the Commission and the Member States to remain committed to a fair and sustainable solution to the Sri Lankan conflict and reiterates its support to all the people of Sri Lanka and their President Mr Mahinda Rajapakse as they address together the challenges that lie ahead.

19. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Governments of the other members of the Co-Chairs Group Norway, USA and Japan, the UN Secretary General as well as the governments of Switzerland, Sri Lanka and the other SAARC countries and the LTTE.

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