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|Saturday, January 13, 2001, updated at 17:02(GMT+8)|
Sri Lankan Rebels Ask Britain Not to Ban ThemSri Lanka's separatist Tamil Tiger rebels have asked the British government not to list the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) as a foreign terrorist organization weeks before Britain's anti-terrorism legislation comes into force, The Island newspaper reported on Saturday, January 13.
LTTE theoretician and political advisor Balasingham made his request via the LTTE-owned English language newspaper Tamil Guardian published in Britain, Canada and South Africa.
Balasingham said a decision to proscribe the LTTE would seriously undermine the current peace process under the facilitation of Norway in the country since it would erode the status of neutrality of Britain and prevent it from playing any significant role in resolving the long-running ethnic conflict.
He asked Britain not to ban the rebel organization without a full understanding of the implications.
He also accused the Sri Lankan government of pouring in troops and equipment into the northern Jaffna peninsula with the intention of breaching the LTTE's defense line and warned of a bloodshed.
He said the LTTE rebels have made a strategic withdrawal to avoid serious casualties because they were facing serious logistic problems of brining personnel and supplies into the battlefield.
The LTTE rebels have been fighting against government forces since 1983 in the north and east of the country in an attempt to set up an independent Tamil state there. Their suicide bombers have killed a number of high-ranking government officials and President Chandrika Kumaratunga lost her vision in the right eye when a woman suicide bomber blasted herself in the presidential elections in 1999.
The British Parliament adopted a new anti-terrorism act in July last year which will probably include the LTTE rebels in the country in its list. The act will come into effect later this year.
Britain has agreed to consider the proscription of the LTTE rebels on their soil under constant request by the Sri Lankan government.
The United States and India, Sri Lanka's closest neighbor, have already banned the LTTE rebels. India has recently requested the extradition of LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran who was accused of masterminding the murder of its former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.
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