Sri Lankan Tamil party urges international community not to be one-sided

Sri Lanka's main political party for the Tamil minority Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has appealed to the international community to have a "more even handed approach" towards the ethnic conflict in this Indian Ocean island.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) proxy party, the TNA, in a statement issued late Monday referred to a reported move by the European Union to list the Tigers as a terrorist organization.

"TNA urges that no action be taken which casts the blame on one side. Such a step can irretrievably harm the legitimate interests of the long suffering Tamil people," the statement said.

The government expects the EU ban to be an encouragement for the rebels to stay in the process of negotiations.

Keheliya Rambukwella, the minister of policy planning and the government's defense spokesman said earlier that the government wants to engage the LTTE in talks to stop the present "low intensity war."

Over 200 people were killed since early April in the upsurge of violence with Tigers deciding to stay away from scheduled talks in Geneva to discuss the violence and the breaches of the 2002 Norwegian backed ceasefire.

The LTTE which has blamed the paramilitary groups working with the government troops for the escalation of violence warned that Sunday's gunning down of one of its senior eastern leaders was action to drag the rebels back into war with the government troops.

Meanwhile, the Norwegian diplomatic efforts to keep the process alive continued when its ambassador Hans Brattskar visited the LTTE held Kilinochchi on Tuesday to meet with the rebel political leadership.

The rebels have warned that further isolation by way of the EU proscription will force the group to stay away from face to face negotiations.

The EU ban on the Tigers is expected to be announced by the end of May and it will add to the international bans the Tigers already faced from the governments of the United States, India, Britain and Canada.

More than 64,000 people have been killed in Sri Lanka's separatist armed conflict since mid 1980s as the LTTE took on the government forces in their quest to set up a separate homeland for the minority Tamils in the island's north and east.

Source: Xinhua



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