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Lanka for curbs on LTTE fund-raising in Europe

Sri Lanka has asked the world community to ban the rebel group and choke its finances and wanted India to play a role towards this end.

india Updated: May 10, 2006 01:52 IST

Contending that LTTE was testing the government's patience by continuing attacks, Sri Lanka today asked the world community to ban the rebel group and choke its finances and wanted India to play a role towards this end.

Colombo particularly wants the south Indian states to play a more pro-active role to ensure early resumption of peace talks which have been strained due to latest bout of violence and is intending to reach out to the new government in Tamil Nadu in this regard.

During the four-day visit of Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera here, Colombo offered an oil block to ONGC on preferential basis and the two countries shared the view that a pact on Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement could be signed this year.

Winding up his visit, Samaraweera said New Delhi had conveyed to him that it stood for territorial integrity of the island nation and favoured stability of the country.

India, however, remained non-committal on any direct involvement in the Sri Lankan affairs and said it was still studying the proposed Defence Framework Agreement.

Samaraweera told a press conference here that LTTE was trying to provoke the government by continuing suicide attacks on military and civilians, killing over 200 people over last few months beginning with assassination of then Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar.

"Yet, the (Sri Lankan) government has shown great restraint, has been very patient because despite the provocations, we feel the negotiated solution is the only answer," he said.

The Government has, however, not closed the door for talks, said Samaraweera who conveyed similar sentiments to New Delhi during his talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Ministers of State for External Affairs E Ahamed and Anand Sharma, Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran and National Security Adviser M K Narayanan.

He said the international community must bring pressure on LTTE by using all provisions to get the LTTE back to the dialogue table.

Addressing the European Union and the West specifically, he said they should curtail LTTE's fundraising activities to snap its "lifeline".

The EU should also list LTTE as a banned organisation, he said. "This would be a negative incentive to ensure that LTTE returns to talks," Samaraweera said.

Sri Lankan sources said Colombo would want India to use its influence to help in this endeavour.

To a question, he said his government was not looking for a change of facilitator, the task currently being pursued by Norway.

Rejecting the LTTE's contention that the Lankan government was hobnobbing with the Tamil group's dissident leader Karuna, he said the LTTE was spreading such a canard as an "excuse" for not participating in the talks.

First Published: May 10, 2006 01:52 IST