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No evidence of LTTE link with NY event - Embassy official

COLOMBO: The US embassy in Colombo yesterday stated that the US authorities couldn't have prevented the Tamil sports festival in New York as there was no evidence to indicate the organisation behind this event had any links with the LTTE.

The Embassy's press officer Evan Owen said this when asked if the US authorities will investigate into the festival organised allegedly by an LTTE front organisation, by the Daily News yesterday.

"There has were no mention in the news story that this organisation had any links with the LTTE," he said.

The news of the sports festival was reported on Monday. Nearly 200 children from Tamil Sunday schools in Staten Island, Queens, Brooklyn, Bronx and New Jersey had participated in the event. The event was held at Jamaica High School sports facilities in New York on Saturday.

Owen said it should be made clear that the LTTE is a banned organisation in the US.

"The LTTE remains to be listed as a foreign terrorist organisation. Any financial assistance or material aid to the LTTE is in violation to the US law," the press officer said adding that however, the right to assemble and freedom of speech is upheld by their constitution.

Asked if there will be any investigations into the incident if it transpired that the organisation had links with the LTTE he said it would be up to the US law enforcement authorities.

Owen also said the hoisting of the LTTE flag had not breached US law.

Inquired about the Sunday Tamil schools and the matter that the curricular for these schools being sanctioned by an Education Board in Kilinochchi - the LTTE headquarters, he said "The US does not have a central education ministry controlling what is taught in school. It would be inappropriate for us to be screening material that has been taught."

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