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புலிகள் மீதான தடை ஐரோப்பிய ஒன்றியத்தில் பிளவு
ஐரோப்பிய ஒன்றியத்தில் புலிகள் மீது தடை விதிப்பது தொடர்பில் அதன் அங்கத்துவ நாடுகளையிடையே கருத்து வேறுபாடு ஏற்பட்டுள்ளது. இந்த தடை நடவடிக்கைக்கு நார்டிக் நாடுகள் எதிர்ப்பு தெரிவித்து வருகின்றது. இதனால் ஐரோப்பாவில் புலிகள் அமைப்புக்கு தடை ஏதும் ஏற்பட வாய்ப்பு குறைவு என்று தெரிகின்றது.

EU divided, may not ban LTTE

By M.R. Narayan Swamy, New Delhi: The European Union is sharply divided over outlawing Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger guerrillas, and indications are a ban is not immediately in the offing despite this week's suicide bomb attack blamed on the insurgents.

The 25-nation grouping is debating whether or not it should declare the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) a terrorist group, a public request for which was made only on April 23 by the Sri Lankan government.

Britain is the only European Union member that has outlawed the LTTE. Colombo feels that a ban across the continent, where the group maintains a string of offices and which is home to thousands of Sri Lankan Tamils, is bound to hurt the Tigers.

According to diplomatic sources here, the Nordic member countries of the European Union are particularly not in favour of banning the LTTE because they feel their own role in the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) would be affected as a result.

The SLMM is a Nordic body that oversees Sri Lanka's tenuous ceasefire. Its member countries are Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. Its present head is a Swede, Ulf Henricsson. SLMM members interact closely with both Colombo and the LTTE in the north and east of Sri Lanka.

The European Union is made up of Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Britain, Cyprus (Greek part), the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia.

Some European countries do favour banning the LTTE, saying its actions, particularly suicide bombings, are incompatible with European values of democracy and free speech. They are also upset over the LTTE's intolerance of dissent and its unending recruitment of child soldiers.

But the Nordic countries argue that outlawing the LTTE will only reduce whatever levers of influence Europe can have on the organisation.

Some among them think that a ban may not have the desired effect of making the Tigers pursue peace.

At the same time, the broad consensus within the EU is to continue with the travel ban imposed on LTTE leaders in September last year following the assassination of then Sri Lankan foreign minister Lakshman Kadirgamar.

On April 23, the Sri Lankan government urged the EU to outlaw the LTTE, saying it was the duty of the international community to help Colombo combat terrorism.

The next day, a woman suicide bomber pretending to be pregnant walked up to the Sri Lankan army headquarters in Colombo and almost killed the army chief, Lt. Gen. Sanath Fonseka, by detonating explosives strapped on her body.

Colombo blamed the LTTE, whose feeble denials were not taken seriously anywhere.

It was the second such suicide bombing in Colombo since July 2004 when another woman bomber strapped with explosives blew herself up inside a police station near the US embassy, killing at least four policemen. The target then was an anti-LTTE Tamil cabinet minister, Douglas Devananda.

The LTTE has used suicide bombings as a political weapon since 1987. In 1991, it assassinated former Indian prime minister Rajiv Gandhi and followed it up by blowing up then Sri Lankan president Ranasinghe Premadasa two years later.

But during the entire 1990s and even later, European countries interacted with LTTE representatives in their own countries although on a low key. The interactions were stepped up after the LTTE and Colombo signed a ceasefire agreement in 2002. But there was a definite change in attitude towards LTTE after 9/11 and suicide attacks in Europe blamed on Muslim groups.

India in 1992 became the first country to ban the LTTE. The US and Britain banned it later. Canada took the decision this month. Australia and Malaysia and some others keep a close watch on the LTTE.

But in all these countries the LTTE continues to operate through front organisations as well as supporters, both Sri Lankan Tamils and local nationals.

<span style='font-size:20pt;line-height:100%'>Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.</span>

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