Sri Lanka concerned over EU court's annulment of sanctions on LTTE

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Lanka upset over EU sanction on LTTE
Colombo, Oct 16:  Sri Lanka today expressed concern over an European Union court decision to strike down anti-terrorism sanctions against the LTTE imposed in 2006.

Sri Lanka is mindful that the EU court decision may have an impact, including from a security perspective, on the large majority of Sri Lankans living in EU territory as well as EU citizens of Sri Lankan-origin who are likely to come under pressure once again by pro-LTTE activists, an External Affairs Ministry statement said.

The Court of Justice of the European Union today ordered the Council of European Union to annul the sanctions imposed on the Sri Lankan group but said their assets should remain frozen "temporarily".

The court annulled specific restrictive measures directed against certain persons and entities by the EU with its view of combating terrorism. The EU had declared the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) a terrorist outfit in 2006, following the earlier proscriptions of the USA and Canada.

EU had declared LTTE a terrorist outfit in 2006

The ban criminalised any activity that could be connected to the LTTE. The defendants in the case were the Council and Commission of the European Union, together with the two member states, the Netherlands and the UK.

Sri Lanka said it is noteworthy that the Court has stressed the annulments to be "on fundamentally procedural grounds" and "do not imply any substantive assessment of the question of the classification of the LTTE as a terrorist group."

"Conscious of the fact that the listing of the LTTE is a matter internal to the EU, Sri Lanka is confident that the European Commission and the EU Member States will take the best possible decision on the future course of action to be taken in this regard, in accordance with their own legal architecture in preserving sovereignty," the statement said.

Apart from the EU, the LTTE is proscribed as a terrorist organisation in the USA, India, Canada, the UK and Sri Lanka. The LTTE was engaged in an "armed conflict" with the Sri Lankan government forces for nearly-three decades, but were defeated in 2009 following the death of its chief Velupillai Prabhakaran.

PTI

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