Departing ceasefire monitor chief slams EU in gloomy Sri Lanka outlook

COLOMBO, Aug 24, 2006 (AFP) – The outgoing chief monitor of Sri Lanka’s crumbling ceasefire Thursday criticised the EU for banning the Tamil Tiger rebels and said his warnings of a violent “worst case scenario” had come true.

Brigadier General Ulf Henricsson wrote a memo to the European Union more than a month before May’s ban was imposed warning of a rise in violence and attacks in the capital Colombo if the EU carried out its threat.

He said the seven-point memo was “not read very carefully” and the decision was finally made in the “cafes of Brussels” to ban the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) as a terrorist organisation despite a troubled ceasefire in place.

Fighting has surged since December that has left at least 1,500 dead culminating in fierce battles in the northern Jaffna peninsula this month between government forces and the rebels.

“We had (seven) bullets in that memo which was some kind of worst case scenario,” Henricsson, a Swede, told AFP. “All of the bullets were fulfilled.”

“They can’t say they didn’t know or at least have any signal about what could happen.

“I think it was not read very carefully. It was a more high-level decision made in the cafes of Brussels.”