India Intelligence Report
 

Sri Lanka Wants LTTE Banned

 

A senior Sri Lankan Government (SLG) functionary accused the LTTE of failure to continue with the peace process and honoring ceasefire agreements and called on the European Union (EU) to follow-through with its threat to ban the outfit. Chief of Government Peace Secretariat and President Mahinda Rajapakse’s Senior Advisor Dr. Palitha Kohona said “we expect the European Union to go ahead with its threatened sanction.”

If the EU goes through with its threat, it will list the LTTE as a terrorist organization, cut off all links with the organization, stop flow of funds, and proscribe interaction of the Tamil Diaspora with the LTTE. Recently, Canada followed earlier examples set by India and the US to ban the LTTE. The EU already has imposed travel restrictions on the LTTE.

The SLG claimed that it was “stretching its limits” citing a recent permission to allow the LTTE to charter a 10-seater helicopter to ferry commanders to Wanni to meet elusive leader Vellupillai Prabakaran. Kohona says that the Government has been forgiving several recent attacks to get the LTTE to continue the dialogue in Geneva. He also insisted that the Government can only “entertain excuses” to a limit and that “the LTTE’s package of excuses may have run out by now.”

 

The SLG had communicated its decision to the Norwegian peace facilitators. Soon after the LTTE said it will not travel to Geneva to continue with the talks, it refused to receive the Sri Lanka Peace Monitoring Mission delegation accusing it of taking sides with the SLG. 

While the LTTE has a track record of double-speak and does follow a policy of violence at arms-length, it is surprising that the SLG waited this long to grant it permission to fly its commanders to confer with its leaders. The LTTE had said that it wanted safe passage guarantees several weeks ago and the SLG had not responded to its request. Now claiming that the LTTE has “run out” of excuses is being disingenuous. 

The EU is the only entity that has any leverage on the LTTE. If it breaks off contact with the LTTE, it is return to civil war that Sri Lanka cannot afford and will probably lose. What may be prudent is tightening the limited sanctions regime in vogue today by tightening money transfers that keep the LTTE so effective. 

The Tamils have genuine grievances against Sri Lanka and those issues cannot be forgotten just because the LTTE has painted itself into a corner.