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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2765

EU backs President Rajapakse and moves to freeze LTTE assets

Colombo, 19 May, ( The European Parliament yesterday whacked the LTTE out of the boundary lines when it recommended a total freeze of Tiger assets before EU considers listing Tigers as a terrorist organisation.

The EU parliament passed a resolution which, on the one hand, assured President Mahinda Rajapakse of EU’s full cooperation in facing the challenges ahead and, on the other, condemning the LTTE violence.

The EU resolution recommended to its 25 members that they freeze the assets of the LTTE associated bank accounts, holdings, companies or undertakings in member states of the European Union.

The EU resolution also -

* deplored the gross violations of the Ceasefire Agreement by the LTTE through actions at sea, in particular the attack of May 11 on the Sri Lankan Navy, "which resulted in many casualties and put the SLMM monitors in grave danger.

* condemned the "appalling abuse of children through the recruitment of child soldiers, which is a war crime" calling on 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. The Government was also urged to put into place legal measures to prevent and criminalise the practice.

* declared that the LTTE does not represent all the Tamil peoples of Sri Lanka and urged the LTTE to allow political pluralism and alternate democratic voices in the North and East and

* assured the EU's cooperation to the people of Sri Lanka and their President Mahinda Rajapaksa as they address together the challenges that lie ahead.

"The peace talks have been suspended indefinitely following the LTTE pulling out again from a second round in April, jeopardising the opportunity for political progress," the resolution said.

The European Parliament strongly welcomed the move by the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE to return to the negotiating table in February, and condemned the LTTE's unilateral refusal to participate in the second round of negotiations in Geneva that were scheduled for April 2006;

It called on the LTTE to resume peace negotiations with the Government without delay, to be prepared to decommission its weapons and to set the stage for a final political settlement of the conflict. "

The European Parliamentarians also commended the Sri Lankan Government for strengthening the Human Rights Commission.

It also called on the EU Member States to do everything in their capacity 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. This is a big blow to the LTTE which has survived essentially on the flow of money from Western bases.

And EU has been one of the primary sources of funding.

The resolution reiterated the commitment of the Member States to a fair and sustainable solution to the Sri Lankan conflict.

The European Union – one of the Co-chairs overseeing the peace process in Sri Lanka – moved to this stage of hitting the LTTE hard in stages. First it imposed a travel ban when the LTTE assassinated Lakshman Kadirgamar, a leading Tamil intellectual and Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka. Then under Norwegian pressure they suspended any further action hoping that the LTTE will halt it violence. The last straw was the attack on the Sri Lankan Navy on May 11 – just on the eve Wesak. Disregarding the presence of a Nordic Truce Monitor on board the Pearl Cruiser ferrying nearly 700 unarmed soldiers the LTTE suicide boats went on the offensive.

This rash action pushed the international community, including India, to step in decisively against the LTTE. USA too announced that it would do everything to see that the LTTE is listed as a terrorist organisation by the European bloc.

The LTTE is now reeling from this severe blow to its image and to its fund-raising capacities. In a knee-jerk reaction Anton Balasingham, the Chief Negotiator for the LTTE, said: ““The more the international community alienates the LTTE, the more the LTTE will be compelled to tread a hardline individualist path,” Mr. Balasingham said.

“The LTTE’s actions and policies are dictated by the deteriorating objective conditions on the ground and not only the international community’s preferences” he said.

He added that an EU ban “is not going to help bring about peace, [but] will only serve to exacerbate the conditions of war and endanger the lives of Tamil civilians entrapped by Sinhala occupation forces,” Mr. Balasingham further said.

Political analysts dismissed this reaction as the usual threadbare line of the LTTE which Balasingham which he has been repeating like a parrot each time the LTTE is threatened by the international community. “There is neither anything new in this nor is it going to frighten the international community,” said a leading academic. “The principal reason is that LTTE has lost credibility and no one is prepared to listen to either its excuses or blaming the Sri Lankan government. LTTE now has to work hard to regain its credibility by abandoning its violence and returning to negotiating table. It has enough evidence before it now to know that it can’t shoot its way to the negotiating table,” he said.

- Asian Tribune -

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