US says LTTE continues to engage in terrorist activities

[TamilNet, Friday, 03 October 2003, 11:06 GMT]
The United States yesterday re-designated the Liberation Tigers as a foreign terrorist organization, saying that the LTTE continues to engage in terrorist activities, and noted that the designation can be revoked at any time the U.S. is satisfied that the organization no longer meets the statutory criteria for designation, the US embassy in Sri Lanka said in a press release Thursday.

"We view the U.S. decision with great regret,'' said Sudha Thangan, the rebels' deputy political head in Kilinochchi, the Tamil Tigers' headquarters town in northern Sri Lanka. "We are at a critical time when efforts are being made to take the peace process forward,'' Associated Press reported.

Fulll text of the press release issued issued by the Embassy of the United States of America, Sri Lanka follows:

"STATUS OF LIBERATION TIGERS OF TAMIL EELAM

Colombo, October 2, 2003. Although the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam are engaged in a peace process with the government of Sri Lanka -- a process that the United States fully supports -- the United States has determined that the LTTE continues to engage in terrorist activities. The United States, therefore, today re-designated the LTTE as a foreign terrorist organization (FTO) pursuant to Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended. This was announced today by U.S. State Department Spokesman Richard Boucher.

In a meeting held Monday, September 29, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage told visiting Sri Lankan Minister Milinda Moragoda that the United States can revoke this designation at any time provided we are satisfied the organization no longer meets the statutory criteria for designation as an FTO. The Deputy Secretary told Minister Moragoda that the United States will consider revoking the LTTE designation as an FTO and will be prepared to deal with the group as a legitimate political entity in Sri Lanka only after the organization renounces terrorism and ceases terrorist acts.

The United States looks forward to a timely resumption of peace talks in Sri Lanka and hopes that proposals by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam for an interim administration in the North and East of the country will be reasonable and practical enough to form the basis for resuming talks."

Meanwhile, following the meeting in Paris where LTTE met with its legal experts from the Tamil diaspora to draft its proposal for the Interim Administration for Northeast, the LTTE delegation led by S.P.Thamilchelvan is currently meeting in Dublin, Northern Island to finalize the proposals.

 

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