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EU ban will not stop peace process: SL

Media reports had earlier suggested that the EU was very close to banning the LTTE, reports PK Balachandran.

india Updated: May 19, 2006 19:08 IST

The Sri Lankan government's commitment to the peace process in the country will continue whether the LTTE is banned by the European Union (EU) or not, according to the Deputy Director General of the government Peace Secretariat, Kethesh Loganathan.

"The peace process will continue," Loganathan told Hindustan Times on Friday, on being asked if the process would be helped or hindered if the EU were to ban the LTTE.

Media reports on Friday had suggested that the EU was very close to banning the LTTE.    

Loganathan also said that the co-chairs of the Tokyo Donors' conference would be meeting as scheduled at the end of the month in Tokyo.

The co-chairs of the Tokyo conference, namely, US, EU, Japan and Norway, are the "international community" in the Sri Lankan peace process.

EU parliament calls upon LTTE to de-commission arms

The European parliament, which met in Strasbourg on Thursday, passed a resolution calling upon the LTTE to go for talks with the Sri Lankan government  "without delay" and " be prepared to decommission weapons," to set the stage for a final political settlement of the ethnic conflict.

The plenary session condemned the attacks on Sri Lankan Naval vessels putting the Nordic monitors in danger.

The EU parliament deplored the "gross" violations of the ceasefire agreement by the LTTE through actions at sea, in particular the attack of May 11 May on the Sri Lankan Navy, which resulted in many casualties and put the Scandinavian truce monitors "in grave danger."

The resolution called upon the LTTE and the Sri Lankan government to ensure the security of the monitors, an unarmed body of men and women who were in Sri Lanka at the invitation of the two parties.

LTTE is not sole representative of Tamils

Dealing a political body blow, the resolution said that the European parliament did not recognise that the LTTE as the "sole representative" of the Sri Lankan Tamils.

" MEPs recognise that the LTTE does not represent all the Tamil peoples of Sri Lanka and calls on the LTTE to allow for political pluralisms and alternative democratic voices in the northern and eastern parts of Sri Lanka which would secure the interest of all peoples and communities," it said.

Calling attention to the recruitment of children by the LTTE, the resolution said: "Parliament condemns 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 it holds and to make a declaration of principle not to recruit any children in the future." 

The resolution called upon Member States to "do every thing 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."

Respect human rights, SL govt told

The European Parliament has been fairly even handed as between the LTTE and the Sri Lankan government.

It also criticised the government for not putting in place an agreed administrative structure to do post-tsunami work in the Tamil-speaking areas of the North East.

After being elected to the UN Human Rights Council, Sri Lanka should "manifest it commitment to uphold the highest standards in the promotion of human rights," the resolution said.

Human rights violations should be effectively and independently investigated, and the perpetrator, whether the Security Forces or armed groups, should be brought to trial in accordance with international standards of fair play.

The EU parliament insisted that all parties should subscribe to comprehensive human rights agreements as a key element in the peace process.

It said that it was the duty of the Sri Lankan government to put in place structures to curb child recruitment by the LTTE and other militant groups.

The parliament called for an immediate stoppage to the use of anti-personnel mines. In this connection, it asked the Sri Lankan government to sign the Ottawa Convention and the LTTE to sign the Geneva Call "Deed of Commitment."

Aid for Tamil areas

The parliament noted that the gridlock on the Post Tsunami Operations Management Structure (PTOMS) had already delayed the release of Euro 50 million, and hindered reconstruction work in North East Sri Lanka.

PTOMS was scuttled in 2005 by a legal dispute over the place of the LTTE in the structure.

The Sri Lankan Supreme Court had struck down some of its key aspects.

The EU parliament deplored the heavy defence expenditure incurred by the Sri Lankan government on defence, which it said, had diverted attention away from "urgently needed investments in economic and social infrastructure in Sri Lanka."