Sri Lanka presses France to clamp down on Tamil Tigers

PARIS, Sept 6, 2007 (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s foreign minister said Thursday he had won assurances from French authorities that they will take action to curb the activities of Tamil rebel supporters in France. Sri Lankan government troops have been fighting Tamil separatist rebels since 1972 and the conflict has claimed more than 60,000 lives.

Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama said his government was “very satisfied” that Paris authorities were clamping down on suspected members of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), which the European Union has branded a terrorist group.

French police in April arrested 15 suspected members of the Tamil Tigers — accused of running an extortion racket among Paris’ Sri Lankan community.

The foreign minister said 14 of those remained in custody and that Tamil language television was forced to shut down its offices.

“There have been these 14 arrests and the money movement is now coming under serious surveillance,” he told journalists at the end of a three-day visit to Paris.

“We still find that developments are taking place through various other hidden channels, which will be dealt with,” said the foreign minister.

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