EU aid for Sri Lankan counterterrorism initiative

ECONOMYNEXT – The European Union has offered Sri Lanka support for its counterterrorism initiative after talks by a visiting official in response to Easter Sunday’s suicide bombings of churches and hotels.

A statement said the offer came during informal counterterrorism talks between a team headed by EU Counterterrorism Coordinator Gilles de Kerchove and on the Sri Lankan side by Acting Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Ahmed A. Jawad.

“The EU presented a support package for Sri Lanka under the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace to be implemented with the UNODC (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime) and United Nations Development Program,” it said.

The package worth 8.5 million euro will focus on law enforcement, rehabilitation and disengagement, counter-narratives, and online radicalisation.

In his talks, Kerchove underlined the EU’s solidarity with Sri Lanka following the Easter Sunday terrorist attacks.

“Common challenges relating to violent extremism and terrorism were discussed and experience regarding responses was shared,” the statement said.

“The EU underlined the importance of efficient coordination of counterterrorism efforts, the essence of focusing on the prevention of violent extremism and the importance of counterterrorism responses to be fully in line with human rights obligations.”

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De Kerchove was set to hold meetings with President Maithripala Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, and Minister of Foreign Affairs Tilak Marapana.
(COLOMBO, 15 July, 2019)