Tigers accuse Sri Lanka of preparing for war

KILINOCHCHI, Sri Lanka, July 5, 2006 (AFP) – Tamil Tiger rebels run a de facto state in this northern town, but face increasing isolation and deadly battles with the Sri Lankan government which they contend is preparing for war. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) have been stung by a ban slapped on them by the 25-member European Union in May, and fought back by demanding the removal of truce monitors from Nordic nations that supported the move.

The ban, which labels the LTTE as a terrorist group, makes it difficult to raise funds from the Tamil diaspora in Europe.

After demanding that monitors from Denmark, Finland and Sweden quit by September 1, the LTTE’s political wing leader, S.P. Thamilselvan said that it was the Sri Lankan government which was escalating violence.

“The government invariably seems to be adamant in not fulfilling its obligations and letting (the ceasefire) rot, and then going to a military solution,” Thamilselvan said in an interview with AFP here earlier this week.

The Tigers maintain their own police, courts and a civil administration here but civil servants continue to be paid by the Sri Lankan government for delivering services to the Tamil minority living in rebel-held territory.