Financial networks supporting LTTE active: U.S.

After three years of acrimony between the U.S. and Sri Lanka at the >Human Rights Council , the two countries appear to have found common ground on one issue.

Earlier this week the U.S. said the >LTTE’s financial network of support continued to operate throughout 2013, echoing Sri Lankan claims that a section of LTTE supporters living abroad were trying to resurrect the organisation.

The United States Department of State, in its recent report on terrorism, said the LTTE uses its international contacts and the large >Tamil diaspora in North America, Europe, and Asia to procure weapons, communications equipment, funding, and other needed supplies. “The group employed charities as fronts to collect and divert funds for their activities,” it observed, apparently resonating with the Sri Lankan government’s position on the possible regrouping of the LTTE.

The Sri Lankan government, concerned over reported attempts to revive the LTTE in the country’s predominantly Tamil-speaking north and east, took various measures over the last couple of months. Sri Lankan police >arrested over 60 persons , primarily those residing in the Northern Province, on charges of harbouring terrorists. Prominent human rights activist >Ruki Fernando and catholic priest Father Praveen were arrested in Kilinochchi, under the Prevention of Terrorism Act, even as the >Geneva session was on. On April 11, Sri Lankan armed forces shot dead three men who allegedly tried to revive the rebel Tiger movement in the country’s >Northern Province .

On the apparent concurrence of the U.S. — prime mover of three resolutions against Sri Lanka in Geneva — and the Sri Lankan government on the issue of the LTTE’s possible revival has intrigued some in Colombo, activist Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu said collaboration between various international intelligence agencies on the issue of international terrorism did not throw a surprise.

“If there is any hard evidence of a sustained LTTE exercise abroad, I suppose the report is relevant, for the political objectives of those groups [among Tamil diaspora] are well within Sri Lanka,” said Mr. Saravanamuttu, executive director of the Centre for Policy Alternatives, a think tank based in Colombo.

Asked if the U.S. too believed there was a possibility of the LTTE regrouping, the U.S. Embassy spokesperson in Colombo told The Hindu that the report covers the 2013 situation, so the latest information was not included. “The U.S. was the first country to proscribe the LTTE as a foreign terror organisation and continues to list it as a terror organisation. The LTTE was designated a Foreign Terrorist Organisation on October 8, 1997, and was named a Specially Designated Global Terrorist organisation in 2001,” the spokesperson said.

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