EU likely to put Sri Lanka’s Tamil Tigers on its terror list Monday

VIENNA, May 27, 2006 (AFP) – The European Union is expected to put Sri Lanka’s Tamil Tigers on its list of terrorist groups next week, a spokesman for the EU’s Austrian presidency said Saturday. The Palestinian group Hamas, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the armed Basque separatist group ETA are on it. The EU move, agreed in principle on May 18, is an item on the agenda of a meeting of the 25-member bloc’s ministers in Brussels, he said.

It means that the assets of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) will be frozen but more importantly it will cut off vital funds being sent to the rebels by members of the Tamil diaspora in Europe.

The move also provides for special EU cooperation measures to combat the group.

The separatist ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka has claimed more than 60,000 lives since 1972.

More than 200 people died last month despite a four-year truce between government forces and the rebels, brokered by Norway.

The Sri Lankan government has been urging the EU to announce the ban, saying that it would probably help force the rebels to the negotiating table.

In an interview published on Thursday, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse said the ban w