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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2792

EU likely to ban LTTE by Friday

Colombo, 19 May, ( Strong American pressure has finally pushed the European Union - one of the four Co-chairs - to ban the Tigers sooner than later, according to diplomats in Brussels. The anouncement is likely to be made by Friday (Today). Diplomatic moves were intensified after the naval attack by the LTTE on the Sri Lankan navy off the coast of Jaffna, The LTTE suicide-bombers threat to attack the Pearl Cruiser ferrying 700 unarmed soldiers, with a Truce Monitor on board, has shocked and disappointed even the Nordic mission monitoring the Ceasefire Agreement.

Quoting diplomatic sources in Brussels Reuters reported that the ban on the Tigers is imminent. Norway has been quietly pressuring the EU to withhold the ban arguing that it would hinder the peace process. But analysts have dismissed this argument as lacking in credibility because the appeasement of the LTTE has never influenced it to cease its violence. Besides, every move made by the international community to open a dialogue with them was seen as a sign of their strength. Members of the international community who stood in a queue to visit the Vanni leadership never achieved anything substantial.

Yashushi Akashi, the Japanese envoy who has been dealing directly with the Vanni leadership, returned empty-handed for the umpteenth time on his last visit over a week ago. He could not even get a meeting with Velupillai Prabhakaran. It is also reported that Jon Hanssen-Bauer too failed to get an interview with Anton Balasingham in London. LTTE has been closing its doors to all diplomatic intervention. It seems that the LTTE is preparing to go it alone irrespective of the consequences.

Analysts believe that the LTTE is determined to escalate violence as it its next move. With the entire international community ganging up against the LTTE this is seen as a big gamble. India too has signalled its willingness to rally behind the Sri Lankan government now that the Tamil Nadu elections are over. It was the Indian intervention that turned the tide and forced the LTTE to withdraw.

The Sri Lankan government too has been exerting maximum pressure on the EU to ban the LTTE. This ban would be a severe blow to the LTTE and fund-raising campaigns. European countries have been one of the resourceful bases for fund-raising. French Police authorities have estimated that LTTE collects over four million dollars from France alone annually.

With the international opinion turning against the LTTE and with diplomats shying away from Vanni it is apparent that the LTTE is getting isolated. Its relentless war crimes and crimes against humanity have eroded its image as the champion of the Tamils. The Tamils in the diaspora too are disenchanted by the LTTE violence targeting their relatives and friends in the LTTE controlled areas.

Having abandoned all approaches to negotiate a peace deal serious doubts have been raised about the likelihood of LTTE attending the proposed conference in Tokyo at the end of May. Mangala Samaraweera, the Foreign Minister, has already been in Tokyo doing the preparatory work for the talks. With the LTTE refusing to give up violence, despite all the pressures, the prospects of talks materializing seems remote.

India too has been invited to be a participant in ther talks scheduled tobe held in Tokyo. of these talks. But all the initiatives will come to nothing if the LTTE does not come to talks. LTTE's refusal will further isolate it. It will be left with only violence. This too will further isolate the LTTE from the international community.

- Asian Tribune -

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