Sri Lanka has told the EU though the military capacity of the LTTE had been destroyed in Sri Lanka their international network, particularly in Europe, remained well intact and unless the EU acts urgently to arrest this trend, the situation could get worse, initially for the hosts.
Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Belgium, Luxembourg and the EU Ravinatha Aryasinha has impressed on Members of the European Parliament (MEP) the need for the EU and member states to use whatever influence they had on Tamils of Sri Lankan origin, a majority of whom still remained in the category of ‘refugees’, to support peace in Sri Lanka.
The Sri Lankan Embassy in Belgium today quoted the Ambassador as saying the rejection by European voters of those who campaigned on a pro-LTTE platform at the recently concluded European Parliamentary elections, should encourage the EU to “re-calibrate its relationship with Sri Lanka” and “engage in a constructive manner in the post-LTTE context”.
The Ambassador thanked the members of the group who acted as “voices of sanity” in the early part of this year, when a few within the European Parliament sought to embarrass the Government of Sri Lanka during the last stages of its operations to defeat LTTE terrorism.
He said these detractors were wrong in their “diagnosis of the problem” believing that the LTTE had the capacity to transform, as they were in their “recommendation of a solution” in demanding that there should be a ceasefire.
He said the Embassy would engage the full spectrum of political groups in the new parliament with a view to keeping them abreast of post-conflict development in Sri Lanka and looked forward to constructive engagement with members interested in Sri Lanka on a sustained basis.
Reminding them that it was less than 8 weeks since the guns fell silent in what was a 30-year long terrorist conflict, the Ambassador said as much as the government would like to, they could not overnight restore normalcy to the lives of the 287,000 persons displaced, who were placed in this predicament due to the LTTE moving them from place to place to be used as human shields in the fighting.
The Ambassador also acknowledged that the needs for the displaced people in camps in Vavuniya were substantial and was stretching the capacities of not only the government, but also the 4 International organizations, 21 International NGOs and 26 local NGOs working within the Welfare Villages.
However, he said that recent reports such as the one about 1400 deaths in the Welfare Villages were without basis. He said the total number of deaths over the past month was only 163, an average of 5.6 deaths per day, which according to Sri Lanka’s Secretary, Health Dr. Athula Kahandaliyanage was well below the internationally set upper “sphere guidelines” of 13.2 per day, for a population approximating that presently within the Welfare Villages.