War fears shake Sri Lanka as Tigers face EU ban

May 29, 2006 (AFP) – Sri Lanka was Monday banking on the European Union to ban Tamil Tiger rebels this week, but analysts and officials warned that proscription was unlikely to save a collapsing ceasefire at home. Norway’s International Development Minister Erik Solheim, who held talks with Sri Lankan leaders on Friday, warned that the island could be slipping back to full-scale war. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) face the “terrorist” label across the 25-member European Union bloc following a meeting of ministers in Brussels later Monday, European diplomats said.

The listing could lead to a crackdown on the fundraising of the Tigers, who are accused by human rights organisations of extorting money from Tamils living abroad, but the implementation of the ban depends on individual nations.

“There must be political will on the part of EU member countries to implement the ban fully,” said Nanda Godage, a former Sri Lankan ambassador to the EU. “Otherwise the proscription will mean little.”

Godage said it was important to see how individual EU members would implement the provisions of a ban.

Peace broker Norway has indicated that an EU ban on the Tigers would complicate their work and the gu