Sri Lanka says EU ban on Tamil Tigers denies access to funds

COLOMBO (EconomyNext) – A renewed European Union ban on Sri Lanka’s Tamil Tiger separatists helps deny them access to funds and prevents efforts to revive the organisation, the island’s deputy foreign affairs minister Ajith P Perera said.

The EU re-imposed the ban on March 26 after the Sri Lankan government provided "fresh evidence" of the Tamil Tigers’ terrorist activities, he told a news conference.

"This ban is not automatic. We have to prove to the European Commission that the (Tamil Tigrs) remain a dangerous terrorist organisation. The fresh ban is a result of our efforts."

He said the renewed ban was a "big blow" to efforts to revive the Tamil Tigers, whose 30-year war for a separate state in the island’s north and east ended with their military defeat in 2009.

"If the ban was not renewed the (Tamil Tigrs) could have got access to their assets in banks in EU countries," Perera said.

"They have millions of dollars in assets. Money, fuel stations, ships, super markets. If the (Tamil Tigers) again got access to these assets there is an opportunity for terrorism to raise its head again."

In December 2014 an EU court judgement removed anti-terrorism measures taken against the Tamil Tiger separatist group on technical grounds.

The Judgement of the General Court of the EU in October annulled measures taken by the EU Council in October against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) designating it as a terrorist organisation.

Perera said the government is committed to defeating the Tigers internationally and preventing their revival.

"We must not think that although they have been defeated on the ground within Sri Lanka, their threat has been eliminated. They can re-appear either as the (Tamil Tigers) or in a different guise."
 

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