EU criticises Sri Lanka Tigers over sea battle, warns on escalation

May 13, 2006 (AFP) – The European Union criticised Sri Lankan rebels Saturday for staging a deadly sea attack and warned that the escalation in violence could wreck any chance of returning to peace talks. The statement came two days after a Tamil Tiger suicide attack on a navy gunboat that killed its 18-man crew, dealing a telling blow to efforts to preserve a four-year ceasefire agreement now in tatters.

The 25-member EU, which has already placed the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) on notice of a possible ban against them, said the escalation of violence undermined the prospects for opening Sri Lankan peace talks.

“The reckless behaviour of the LTTE in the last days can only contribute to a dangerous escalation that results in growing hostilities and jeopardises any possibility for future peace talks,” the EU said in a statement.

It also urged the Sri Lankan government to show “as much restraint as possible” following Thursday’s sinking of a navy gun boat that was escorting a ship transporting 710 soldiers to the Jaffna peninsula.

The EU statement came after UN Secretary General Kofi Annan made a fresh appeal to Sri Lanka’s government and Tamil rebels to end violence and resume Nor