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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2731

Sri Lanka envoy says today’s globalization makes one country’s terrorism the problem of others

By Walter Jayawardhana

Los Angeles, 17 December, (Asiantribune.com): In today’s world context if terrorism exists in one nation it inevitably becomes a problem transcending borders becoming an overwhelming security challenge for the whole region said Jaliya Wickramasuriya, the Sri Lanka Consul General in Los Angeles, addressing the World Affairs Council of Orange County in Southern California.

“In a world that is increasingly growing smaller because of rapid globalization, security challenges need to be viewed in a global perspective, rather than regional, because of the profound effect of global inter-dependence” Wickramasuriya said.

He said, “In the current context, the most overwhelming security challenge that nations within and beyond Asia face, is terrorism. The reason is that if terrorism exists in one nation, it inevitably becomes a regional and subsequently a global threat, because, through its very nature, terrorism has the tendency to transcend borders.”

Taking the context of the terrorist group fighting in one Asian nation – such as the Liberation of Tigers of the Tamil Eelam, or the LTTE, in Sri Lanka, Wickramasuriya said, “The LTTE does not limit its activities to Sri Lanka or its closest neighbors, but widely operates through front organizations in many countries around the world.”

He said not only it killed neighboring India’s Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and encouraging extremist elements in South India for a separate state it has now spread its tentacles to neighboring Malaysia to destabilize the country using anarchist elements in the Malay Peninsula.

As a result, the LTTE has been proscribed as a terrorist organization in many of the world’s democracies, such as India, the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and the twenty-seven member European Union. The LTTE sustains its terrorist activities through $200-300 million raised mainly in Western countries through such means as intimidation and extortion, narcotics trade, human trafficking, arms smuggling and a host of other business transactions.

Through its money laundering network, the LTTE transfers these funds to other locations and use them mainly for procuring weapons, and influencing policy makers in targeted countries. Foreign funds apparently collected for charity, are diverted for terrorist purposes. This is a security challenge that many Asian nations are forced to grapple with today.

The Tamil Rehabilitation Organization, or the TRO, an LTTE linked charity, is under investigation in many Western countries. On November 15, 2007, the United States designated the TRO as an LTTE front organization and froze its assets. As Jeffrey Breinholt, Deputy Counter-terrorism Chief at the US Department of Justice said, terrorists are constantly looking for new methods to avoid detection and secure funding. The Consul General further said, this is another irksome challenge for Asian nations, as limited resources place an added burden on their abilities to protect themselves against the challenge of trans-national terrorism. For many nations, such security challenges have become more diverse and multifaceted in an interconnected world, and they increasingly face secessionist, ethnic and other intra-state tensions, Wickramasuriya added.

He further said the scope of the terrorist threat makes it clear, that no single country can hope to succeed, in fighting the war against terrorism, alone. As President George Bush has reiterated over and over, the global threat of terrorism requires a global strategy and a global response. Sri Lanka knows the value of international cooperation in fighting terrorism. Neither the arrests of LTTE activists in New York, Baltimore, Indonesia and Guam in 2006, nor the Sri Lanka Navy’s successful destruction of eleven vessels carrying arms and ammunition to the LTTE within a space of thirteen months since September 2006, could have happened without close and consistent international cooperation in fighting terrorism.

In engaging the international community to fight terrorism and being party to the global effort to counter this menace, Sri Lanka has worked diligently at strengthening its linkages with the international community. It cooperates with a range of countries in tracking terrorist financing networks, and monitors over 300,000 financial transactions involving its bank every month for any suspicious transactions. Sri Lanka, thus recognizes the value of law enforcement agencies around the world cooperating with each other and maintaining their focus. Its relentless efforts have produced considerable results.

Various Asian nations may have different forms of government. However, the increased spate of terrorist attacks in different countries, irrespective of their forms of government, and the resulting loss of innocent civilian lives, has lent greater urgency to the need for the international community to unite and fight the threat from international and trans-border terrorism and to censure those states that give arms and financial support and sanctuary to terrorists.

In conclusion he appealed to all the nations to get together and stand united against terrorism as one global force with a global strategy to eradicate terrorism and bring peace to the whole world.

- Asian Tribune -

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