LTTE yet to decide about truce talks in Oslo
It was not immediately clear why the EU ban would prompt the rebels to back out of talks in Oslo, which is not an EU member.india Updated: May 31, 2006 12:04 IST
Tamil Tiger rebels said on Wednesday they would make a final decision on attending Sri Lanka ceasefire talks in Norway only after seeing details of a European Union move to label them as terrorists.
The comments from one of the rebels' senior leaders raised the possibility that the Tigers were mulling a cancellation of the June 8-9 talks in Norway with ceasefire monitors and representatives of the Sri Lankan government.
It was not immediately clear why the EU ban would prompt the rebels to back out of talks in Norway, which is not an EU member, but listing the rebels as terrorists would undermine their international legitimacy and hamper their fundraising efforts.
"We have not been told officially of the European Union's reported decision," senior rebel leader, Seevaratnam Puleedevan, told the agency from the rebel stronghold of Kilinochchi.
"With regard to the meeting in Oslo, we are ready for positive steps, but we are waiting to see the official European Union's statement," Puleedevan, who heads the rebels' Peace Secretariat, said.
The EU decision was passed without debate at a meeting of EU ministers late on Monday in Brussels, clearing the way for the 25-nation bloc to freeze the group's assets within the EU, according to European diplomats in Brussels, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the measure had not yet come into effect.
There has been no formal EU statement on the ban. The proposed meeting in Oslo was brokered by Norway to discuss an increasingly shaky 2002 ceasefire with European monitors.