Australia may formally outlaw LTTE

October 13th, 2008 - 1:53 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, Oct 13 (IANS) Australia is considering the explicit listing of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) as a terrorist group as Foreign Minister Stephen Smith Monday called for a political solution to resolve the ongoing conflict in Sri Lanka.During talks with Smith in Canberra Monday, Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama called on Australia to formally declare the LTTE a terrorist group.

“As I indicated to the foreign minister, that is currently under consideration by the attorney-general,” Smith told the Australian Associated Press (AAP).

“For a considerable period of time the LTTE has effectively been listed under United Nations arrangements, which affects a freeze on LTTE assets in Australia and as a consequence (it is) unlawful for the use of LTTE assets in Australia,” he added.

LTTE has already been banned in India, Canada, Britain, the US and countries in the European Union.

Expressing concern about the ongoing violence and worsening human rights situation in the strife-torn island nation, Smith said in a statement: “Australia’s view remains that Sri Lanka’s conflict cannot be resolved through military means alone. All parties to the conflict must work towards a political solution that meets the legitimate aspirations of all Sri Lankans”.

The Tamil Tigers have been fighting for independence for over a quarter of a century and the violence has claimed more than 60,000 lives.

Other issues discussed between the two foreign ministers included illegal migration and counter-terrorism.

Australia further committed nearly Australian $6 million ($4 million) over three years to improve primary school education in Sri Lanka.

Over 5,000 overseas Sri Lankan students are currently enrolled in Australian educational institutions.

In 2008-09 Australia has committed over $27 million ($18 million) in development assistance towards peace building and community rehabilitation activities, humanitarian assistance, food aid, education programmes and agriculture capacity building.

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