Tamil diaspora operations will be restricted - Dy. Minister of
The activities and operations of the 16 pro-LTTE Tamil diaspora
groups which the Government has banned will now be restricted and be
under observation in the countries where they are based, said Deputy
Minister of External Affairs Neomal Perera in an interview with the
He said they are a threat not only to Sri Lanka but to the region and
the world as a whole.
Members of the organisations and persons connected to the
organisations will be arrested and detained on entering the country and
will be indicted under the law of the land, he said.
He also spoke about the Government's plans to establish new
diplomatic missions in many more countries and to considerably increase
the number of diplomats.
Q: The Government has banned 16 pro-LTTE
Tamil diaspora organisations. Will it restrict the activities and
operations of these organisations in the respective countries where they
A: As a terrorist
organisation the LTTE was banned in Sri Lanka and many other countries.
The ban is still in force although the terrorist outfit was militarily
defeated in May 2009. We stopped funds and other support coming to their
rumps from organisations abroad in an effort to revive them. We would
adopt the same methods and procedures, with the support and coordination
of the respective governments. We have tangible evidence to prove that
these pro-LTTE organisations have been engaged in fund-raising and other
anti-government activities to promote the LTTE's separatist agenda. I do
not think the international community would refuse our request to
cooperate with us in dealing with them, because they are a regional and
global threat. They have to support us in banning these organisations
and freezing their funds. These groups and persons have been identified
on reasonable grounds to have abetted and aided in the commission of
acts of terrorism. Certainly their operations and activities will be
restricted and will be under close monitoring in the countries where
they are based.
Q: Will persons identified as members
or supporters of these groups be refused entry into Sri Lanka?
A: If we come to know that
they are in these banned terrorist organisations we will arrest them on
We will keep them in detention and indict them under the law of the
land. We will take measures to make sure that they are arrested even if
they come on passports with fake names. We will also seek assistance
from the Interpol and the security authorities of the respective
countries to arrest them. Since we understand that some of them are in
India we will seek India's support for arresting them.
Q: The TNA has stated that the ban on
these organisations are unjustifiable and the Government should revoke
its ban. Your comments?
A: The government cannot
do it and that is my personal opinion. If the President as the Head of
the State decides to revoke the decision after discussions with the TNA
and reaching understanding or undertakings on specific matters, then it
may be possible. In my personal view this may not happen.
Q: Do you think that our diplomatic
missions in those countries failed to brief the respective governments
on their unlawful activities?
A: These are democratic
countries and people can exercise their democratic rights. Our missions
cannot point an accusing finger at anyone or any organisation as agents
or operatives of a banned terrorist movement, without tangible proof. We
can now do it because they have been legally banned.
Q: Minister G.L. Pieris has stated
that Sri Lanka will not cooperate with the UNHRC inquiry on the
purported war crimes.
A: That is precisely the
stand of the Government. India abstained from voting on the resolution
because India realised the fact that it was highly intrusive and a
direct interference in the sovereignty of an independent nation. The
same was the stand of many other UN member nations. We are working
closely with India as our friendly and closest neighbour to get their
advice and on how to handle the situation.
We are holding consultations with them on a wide range of regional
and international matters. The relations between the two countries is
excellent as it always has been. Even on the fishermen's cross-border
issue we want to resolve on a mutually beneficial manner. It is a
humanitarian and livelihood problem. We only do not want the fishing
resources in our territorial waters depleted. Fishermen on either side
have to adhere to international regulations and maritime boundaries.
Q: Reports say that a new envoy is to
be posted to New Delhi?
A: Yes. The matter is
under consideration. It is very likely that we will be posting a very
senior and experienced diplomat to India soon.
Q: Are many more new postings to our
diplomatic Missions abroad under consideration?
A: We recently opened
three new diplomatic Missions in the African countries. Opening up of
more Missions are also under consideration. We have to increase the
number of diplomats because we are increasing the number of embassies.
So naturally there will be new recruitment and new postings which we
will be doing according to the present requirements and the
international politics. There will also be some routine changes. Our
foreign policy is moulded in terms of the 'Mahinda Chintana - Vision for
Tomorrow' and any change to our foreign policy will be done accordingly.