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Declaration by Presidency on behalf of EU concerning listing of LTTE as a terrorist organisation

BELGIUM: The Council of Europe in a press release states:

1. The Council of the European Union (EU) decided on 29 May 2006 to include the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) on the EU list for the application of specific measures to combat terrorism. This list contains the names of persons, groups and entities against whom, for reasons of their involvement in terrorist acts, specific restrictive measures have to be taken, including:

- the freezing of funds and other financial assets or economic resources of the persons and entities specified,

- a ban on the provision of funds, financial assets and economic resources, and a ban on the provision of financial or other related services, directly or indirectly, for the benefit of these persons, groups and entities,

- police and judicial cooperation between EU Member States.

2. The decision of the EU to list the LTTE should come as a surprise to nobody. Several warnings have already been provided to the LTTE, which the LTTE has systematically ignored. In its statement of 27 September 2005 (12669/1/05) the EU stated that "it was actively considering the formal listing of LTTE as a terrorist organisation".

The EU then called upon all parties to show commitment and responsibility towards the peace process and to refrain from actions that could endanger a peaceful resolution and political settlement of the conflict. Unfortunately, this appeal has gone unheeded.

The decision of the EU to list the LTTE is based on the actions of that organisation. The EU still sees a need for the LTTE to amend its violent course and return to peace talks, and will maintain its dialogue with the LTTE where such contacts, in the pursuit of the peace process,

may help to bring about a return to negotiations and an end to violence. Listing the LTTE will not diminish the EU's determination to play its role as one of the Tokyo co-chairs. The EU stresses that its decision is directed at the LTTE, and not at the Tamil people.

3. At the same time, the EU calls upon the Sri Lankan authorities to curb violence in Government controlled areas. In this regard, the EU stands by all of the findings in the reports of the SLMM (Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission). The EU urges the Government of Sri Lanka to act effectively on the commitment of President Rajapaksa to put a stop to the culture of impunity and to clamp down on all acts of violence in areas controlled by the Government. The EU further urges the Government to ensure law and order for all citizens of Sri Lanka, and to investigate and prosecute all cases of violence that have so far not resulted in arrests or convictions.

4. The upsurge in violence is not caused by the LTTE alone. The EU strongly urges the Sri Lankan authorities to curb violence in Government controlled areas. The EU notes with concern the growing number of reports of extrajudicial killings.

The EU views the activities of the Karuna Group in the gravest possible light. These are clearly contributing to increased instability in Sri Lanka, and further endanger the peace process. The EU intends to keep the activities of the Karuna Group under close review, with a view to considering possible further steps.

5. The EU will keep the situation in Sri Lanka under active review, taking account of the activities of all parties to the conflict. It will remain ready to adopt further measures as and when they may be warranted by changing circumstances.

6. The European Union firmly believes that only a peacefully negotiated settlement can ensure a lasting solution acceptable to all. In this connection, the EU recalls the agreement reached in Oslo by all the parties involved to explore a specific institutional solution for Sri Lanka. It is the responsibility of all those concerned to act in the interests of all the people of Sri Lanka.

The EU remains fully committed to the peace process in Sri Lanka. The EU sincerely urges all parties to put an end to violence and to return to the negotiation table, so as to relieve the Sri Lankan people from the ordeal of twenty years of persistent conflict.

7. The EU remains firmly committed to assisting the Norwegian facilitator in his work and to helping the two parties to the Ceasefire Agreement in Sri Lanka to resolve their conflicts and find a long term peaceful settlement for Sri Lanka.

This, however, requires real commitment to the peace process from both the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE.

The EU clearly expects all parties to respect the role and physical safety of the SLMM monitors.

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