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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2959

The EU ban hits the Tigers hard

By Mallika Wanigasundara

The LTTE put its signature down in blood as a ruthless terrorist organization by sandwiching the listing of the LTTE by the European Union, between two civilian massacres in its apoplectic rage as the world prepared to isolate it. The smile on the face of the Tiger is the grin of destruction and death.

At the Co-Chairs meeting in Tokyo a crooked smile came on the soured face of Eric Solheim , former Chief Norwegian negotiator, protector, pusher, coach, of the LTTE, as the representatives of the Co-Chairs US, Norway, EU and Japan held hands rather oddly in could lange syne fashion. Would this adventure in Sri Lanka be really forgot……… [should old acquaintance be forgot..]

On May 27th 2006 as the deliberations went on to list or not to list the LTTE it signaled what is perhaps in store for Sri Lanka- it set off three claymore mines in Wilpattu National park in north west Sri Lanka and killed seven people. They were local tourists and one Wild Life department employee, a tracker. Among those killed are individuals from the upper echelons of Colombo 7 society and a well-known writer, Nihal de Silva, author of’ The road to Elephant Pass’ The park was opened in March 2006 after 16 years.

The security forces assert that the bomb had been placed the previous night. It is obviously a blow at a moving economic target, the tourist industry.

Then on May 29th 2006 the LTTE massacred twelve civilians, peasants from the Welikanda area in that vital sliver of land , which strategically separates the north from the east. The men had gone to repair an irrigation construction. Two survivors related how it happened. They were ambushed and their hands were tied behind their backs and they were shot.

The Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission which went there cannot possibly say that it is a ‘third party,’ as they did when a Chinese trawler was sunk by the LTTE.

S P Tamilselvan has been threatening the government, and the SLMM that depending on the EU decision it would pull out of the negotiations and the Ceasefire Agreement [CFA].

The LTTE has threatened the biased broker Norway and tried to intimidate it to desist from accompanying Sri Lankan Navy vessels on their movements. When you displease the Sun God you face death as the Monitors nearly learnt when they boarded the Sri Lanka Pearl Cruise 11 carrying 710 troops and two monitors. Sixteen sailors and their commander lost their lives when their Fast Attack Craft lunged into the oncoming suicide boat. The intrepid Nordics were saved along with 710 troops.

Perhaps this is what made up the minds of the Scandinavian countries, Denmark, Sweden and Finland which were opposing the ban.

When you feed the Tiger you could end up in his stomach like the lady in the limerick or have your hand bitten off. The EU ban is the worst blow the Tigers have faced in a worsening situation of isolation and world revulsion.

The LTTE will be strapped for cash because all its extortions from expatriates in the member countries will have to come to a stop. Several unconfirmed sources say that something like dollars two billion are collected from the Diaspora for the LTTE war chest. Its assets, bank accounts, holdings, its companies or undertakings will be frozen in member countries as a result of the proscription.

Its fund raising tours and propaganda meetings will have to come to an end. It could continue to travel to Norway which is not a member of the EU through Switzerland also a non-member.It is a victory for President Mahinda Rajapakse who became President in November last year.
The man whom the western press described as a ‘hardliner’ has reiterated over and over again that military action is no option and that a negotiated political settlement is the answer despite heavy provocation by the LTTE, such as the attack by a pregnant suicide bomber on the Army Commander Lt. General Sarath Fonseka the attack on the Pearl Cruise 11and the earlier assassination of the late Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadiragamer.

The President has announced maximum devolution of power within an undivided Sri Lanka. Opting out of a military solution, the government has said that it ‘rejects any suggestion that those measures by the international community which would or should encourage any military options by anyone’ an obvious reference to the induction of UN forces suggested by Yasushi Akashi,Japan’s chief Peace Envoy, in clear terms.

The Co-Chairs themselves have warned the LTTE from Tokyo that deeper isolation would face them if it does not give up violence and terrorism. The two countries likely to follow in the face of a lack of heed by the Tigers are Japan and Australia.

The EU resolution calls upon the LTTE to renew negotiations, stop the violation of the CFA, desist from the recruitment of children as soldiers and release those already recruited, halt illegal taxation of civilians.

One of the most important conditions laid down by the EU is that the LTTE should be prepared to decommission weapons.And as important the EU does not recognise the position that the LTTE is the sole representative of the Tamils and it calls upon the Tigers to recognize democratic rights, political pluralism,human rights.
In the several bouts of negotiations in the past during J R Jayawardene’s.Premamdasa’s,Chandrika Kumaratunage’s, Ranil Wickremasinghe’s regimes and even during Mahinda Rajapakse’s time now, no mention was ever made of this dirty word ‘decommission’.Tread softly on that area lest the monsters vanish into thin air. Its our bargaining chip,Anton Balasingham is known to have said.

But there is no room for relief, respite or rest for Sri Lankans,even as it is hardy, rocky and uncertain for President Rajapakse. Eternal vigilance is the badge of all our tribe.

- Asian Tribune -

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