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EU under Germany may lift LTTE ban

The EU led by Germany will redouble its efforts to re-energise the peace process, reports PK Balachandran.

india Updated: Dec 31, 2006 15:59 IST

A lifting of the ban on the LTTE by the European Union (EU) is now a possibility because Germany is going to be EU President (for six months) from January 1, says the Colombo-based The Sunday Times.

In a Frankfurt-datelined story, the paper said that at the very least, an EU under Germany would put economic pressure on the Sri Lankan government to abandon its military campaigns and return to the negotiating table for meaningful talks with the LTTE.

Germany has already stopped its aid for tsunami reconstruction in Sri Lanka.

Economic Cooperation Minister Heidmarie Wieczorek-Zeul had told Der Tagesspiegel that her ministry had stopped the€19 million pledged to Sri Lanka because of the war there, and hoped that other Western governments would follow suit.

The Sunday Times quoted an official of Wieczorek-Zeul's ministry as saying that as a co-chair of the Tokyo Aid Lanka Conference, the EU led by Germany would "redouble its efforts to re-energise the peace process," in Sri Lanka.

The paper further said that many NGOs had written to the German Minister asking her to get the EU to lift the ban on the LTTE as the ban had made the LTTE and the Sri Lankan government take extreme positions, which in turn were preventing NGOs from working in the North-East.

The EU had banned the LTTE in May 2006.

According to The Sunday Times there is a move among human rights workers in the EU to lobby member countries on theneed to get the ban lifted.

Interestingly, one of the key participants in this movement is Viraj Mendis, a Sri Lankan from the majority Sinhala community who heads the International Human Rights Association from his base in Germany.

First Published: Dec 31, 2006 15:59 IST