To force the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE to go for peace talks at the end of this month, Germany has frozen all new economic aid to Sri Lanka, according to The Sunday Times.
New commitment worth more than 38 million Euros meant for projects in government as well as Tamil areas, would remain frozen until the start of the peace process, the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development said on Friday.
Already, several projects in the Tamil North East had been stopped because of security concerns and the listing of the LTTE as a terrorist organisation by the European Union (EU), said the German Minister for Economic Development, Mrs.Heidi Wieczorek-Zeul, in Frankfurt.
“As long as both sides engage in intensive conflict, it is not meaningful for the German government to commit additional funding that cannot reach the people of Sri Lanka . There cannot be military solution to the conflict between the Singhalese and the Tamils,” Minister Wieczorek-Zeul said.
Australian travel advisory
Meanwhile, the Australian government had issued a travel advisory asking Australians not to go to Colombo because of the possibility of being kidnapped.
The advisory, issued in August, had said that foreigners were being kidnapped, The Sunday Times reported.
Reacting to it, the Sri Lankan Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the advisory was baseless as there had not been a single case of a foreigner being kidnapped in Sri Lanka in the last decade.
The matter would be taken up with Canberra soon, an official said.
Global bid to get talks started
The German aid freeze has coincided with a flurry of international activity to get the peace talks re-started.
The US Assistant Secretary of State, Richard Boucher, the Japanese Peace Envoy, Yasushi Akashi, and the Norwegian peace facilitator, Jon Hanssen Bauer, would be in the island from Monday onwards to kick start the suspended peace process and to see that the two sides go for talks on October 28 and 29 in Switzerland as planned.
Boucher would not be going to Kilinochchi to meet the LTTE’s political leader SP Tamilselvan, but Akashi and Hanssen Bauer would.
But despite international concern, fighting is still going on in the North and East.
The army said that in Muhamalai, on Saturday, the LTTE fired artillery and mortars on government troops and killed two men and injured 13.
The army replied in kind and inflicted heavy casualties on the enemy.
The LTTE had not reported the incident.