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US funds Lanka monitoring, deny hand in LTTE split

Dismissing reports supporting a split in the Tamil rebel movement, US donated 600,000 dollars to monitor the Sri Lankan polls.

india Updated: Mar 19, 2004 17:05 IST

Dismissing reports of supporting a split in the Tamil Tiger rebel movement, United States on Wednesday donated 600,000 dollars to monitor the Sri Lankan polls.

US ambassador Jeffrey Lunstead said the US had nothing to do with the unprecedented break up of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam ahead of next month's elections.

"These reports (of US involvement in the LTTE break-up) are unadulterated nonsense," he told reporters in Colombo.

However, the US was giving 600,000 dollars to boost two local election monitoring organisations as well as the US-based National Democratic Institute to observe the April 2 parliamentary election, he said.

The ambassador said monitors had a positive impact on the election process as their presence on the ground discouraged violence and vote rigging.

The campaign so far is reported to be less violent compared to the run up to the 2001 parliamentary election, according to private poll monitors, who have however, warned that there was a potential for violence closer to voting.

The renegade Tiger commander, V. Muralitharan, better known as Karuna, denied last week that India's external intelligence agency was behind his breaking away from the LTTE.

First Published: Mar 17, 2004 14:16 IST