EU ban on Tamil Tigers will help peace talks: Sri Lankan president

From left: Dr. Fernando Im, Senior Country Economist for Sri Lanka and the Maldives, The World Bank, Hon. Eran Wickramaratne, State Minister, Ministry of Finance and Mass Media, Dr. W A Wijewardana, Former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, Prof. Indralal de Silva, Former (Chair) of Demography, University of Colombo, Prof. Amala de Silva, Department of Economics, University of Colombo at the panel discussion on "Demographic Change in Sri Lanka" moderated by Dr. Ramani Gunatilaka, International Centre for Ethnic Studies.

LONDON, May 25, 2006 (AFP) – An impending European ban on the Tamil Tiger rebels will leave the group with little choice but to engage in peace talks, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse said in an interview published here Thursday. The European Union is expected to add the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to its list of banned terrorist groups on Monday, the Financial Times said.

The United States, India, Britain and Canada have already done so.

Rajapakse told the British daily: “The LTTE thought the world was with them. Their propaganda machine was very effective.

“Now, with the EU ban coming, they will realise that they can’t use these tactics, killing innocent people, murdering. They will have to think twice and be much more careful. They have to think twice about fighting the whole world. Whoever has political sense won’t do that.”

The Financial Times said Rajapakse was confident the EU ban would help force the Tamil Tigers back to the negotiating table.

In contrast, the chief negotiator for the Tamil Tiger rebels warned on Sunday that such a move by Europe could scuttle future peace talks.

London-based Anton Balasingham said the rebels would retreat from negotiations with the government if they ar