Government looks to weaken LTTE funding networks

The Government says it is in the process of strengthening diplomatic ties with countries that have worked with Sri Lanka in the past to weaken the LTTE’s funding and support networks.The Government also warned that there is a threat of new forms of terrorism emerging which will be difficult to predict and may be hard to control if Sri Lanka isolates and radicalize aggrieved communities in the country. Samaraweera also said that Government agencies maintain close cooperation in intelligence sharing with all interlocutors, particularly those committed to combating terrorism. This includes combating financial networks.He noted that the new Government is employing new strategies to ensure the future security of all Sri Lankans.“This government’s approach is very different. We are using soft power and diplomacy, while ensuring our borders remain strong and our maritime security remains firm, to win the hearts and minds of all those who may oppose the state – whatever ethnic, religious, class or cultural group they may represent,” he said. He was responding to a question posed by the Leader of the Opposition Nimal Siripala de Silva on a US State Department report which had said that the LTTE international network was still active last year.“This Government is firm in its resolve to combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. This is, and always will be our consistent policy with regard to terrorism. Our nation has been torn apart by acts of terror for several decades in its history. We are sadly all too familiar with the bombs at market places, in city centers, trains and buses, places of worship and commercial establishments. We have all been affected in some form or another by the brutal violence of a conflicted nation. The responsibility of ensuring that this country never regresses back to an era of violence and terror is not one that should be confined to any one party, any one Government or any one leader. It should be the collective and shared responsibility of all,” he said. Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera told Parliament that Sri Lanka cannot afford to risk the security and stability of the country again on poorly planned or non-inclusive strategies, and on failures in diplomacy. “Now is the time to address the root causes of violence, to use global law enforcement cooperation, to improve domestic criminal justice systems and to increase outreach to affected communities. These will be the tools with which we permanently steal away the hearts and minds, the very oxygen, from terrorist organizations,” he said. The Foreign Minister said it is the government’s intention to remove the base of support of violent radical groups, by diminishing their popularity and legitimacy among the populations who might otherwise sustain them with material and moral support. (Colombo Gazette)

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