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EU to be in Tigers' touch despite ban

LTTE ban meant freezing of its financial resources, reports PK Balachandran.

india Updated: Jun 01, 2006 12:29 IST

The European Union (EU) has said that despite the ban it has imposed on the LTTE, it will continue to maintain contact with the latter, in order to promote the peace process in Sri Lanka.

A declaration issued by the EU Presidency in Brussels on Wednesday, said that the EU would "maintain its dialogue with the LTTE, where such contacts, in pursuit of the peace process, may help to bring about a return to negotiations and an end to violence".

An offshoot of this is that member countries of the EU, which are part of the Sri Lanka (Truce) Monitoring Mission (SLMM), will be able to continue to function as monitors despite the ban on the LTTE.

Denmark, Sweden and Finland will thus continue to be in the SLMM, saving peace facilitator Norway, the trouble of finding substitutes. 

The EU further said that the listing of the LTTE as a terrorist organisation would not diminish its determination to play its role as one of the Co-Chairs of the 2003 Tokyo Donors' Conference.

The Co-Chairs of that conference, namely, Japan, EU, US and Norway, are the "international community" in the Sri Lankan peace process.

LTTE's funds frozen

The EU Declaration said that the ban on the LTTE meant the freezing of its financial and other resources.

Listing as a terrorist organisation also means that nobody in the EU will be allowed to render financial and other related services to the LTTE, either directly or indirectly.

But it is not clear if there is a ban on doing propaganda work for the LTTE free of charge.

Ticks off SL Govt, threatens action against Karuna 

While condemning the LTTE, the EU has ticked off the Sri Lankan government and threatened to take punitive action against the breakaway LTTE group led by Karuna.

The EU has asked the government to curb violence in areas controlled by it and bring an end to the "culture of impunity."

"The upsurge in violence is not caused by the LTTE alone. The EU notes with concern the growing number of reports of extra judicial killings," the declaration said.

On the Karuna group, it said: "The EU views the activities of the Karuna group in the gravest possible light.

The EU intends to keep the activities of the Karuna group under close review, with a view to considering possible further steps."

The LTTE accuses the government of encouraging the Karuna group's violence against it and its supporters.