United National Party Leadership Council Member Mangala Samaraweera recently stated that the banning of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) by the European Union was a result of diplomacy during his tenure as Foreign Minister and alleged that the lifting of the ban would benefit supporters of the government.
He has said that the LTTE had a strong fund raising network in Europe when he became the Foreign Minister in late 2005. This was mainly because the LTTE activities had been curtailed in both the US and the UK following these countries banning the organization as a result of extensive campaigning by former Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar. However, he points out that it was during his tenure as Foreign Minister that the LTTE was banned in the EU.
He alleges that the only legal claim to the LTTE funds can be put forward by the so-called “successor of the LTTE leader Prabhakaran,” namely, Kumaran Pathmanathan or KP. Since KP has now reconciled with the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL), it is KP and thereby the government which will benefit from the EU decision, alleged Samaraweera.
What Mangala Samaraweera says is somewhat bewildering on two accounts. Firstly, he takes credit for what is not simply something he could take full credit for. While he must have made a contribution for the banning of the LTTE by EU, it was not singularly his diplomatic work which made it possible. Lakshman Kadirgamar did not appeal only to the US and the UK. He continuously spoke and campaigned Sri Lanka’s position regarding the LTTE in various places including the United Nations General Assembly, United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva and in Europe and North America. The banning of the LTTE in the EU did not just happen overnight.
Kadirgamar became the Foreign Minister when the LTTE had run miles ahead in the propaganda race. Only India had banned the organization, and that was due to the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi. The LTTE, assisted ably by the expatriate community had extensive propaganda and fund raising networks in many countries in the west. There was a lot of convincing to be done in getting Sri Lanka’s voice heard across these nations. It was Kadirgamar who spearheaded the campaign to catch up with the LTTE propaganda machine.
As such, the banning of the LTTE by the EU was not an outcome which one person can take credit for. If there is one person to give the credit, it is none other than Lakshman Kadirgamar.On the other hand, the comment about the LTTE funds is quite baffling also. A few months after the defeat of the LTTE and the death of its top leadership, a statement allegedly issued by the ‘LTTE Executive Committee’ said that KP has been appointed the new leader of the organization. However, he was just one figure in the LTTE overseas network and he was said to be in conflict with certain other leaders. Furthermore, circumstances changed after he was arrested and brought to Sri Lanka. The fact that he could legally claim the funds seems to be an offhand comment as such legal ownership must be proven.
The UNP also rubbished the claims that it was behind the decision by the EU. The EU made a statement reiterating that the decision was taken on procedural grounds. The EU said that “it is important to remember that it is a legal ruling of a court; it is not a political decision taken by the EU governments.” Also the statement went on to say that: “The EU institutions are studying carefully the Ruling in detail; they will reflect on the options open to them and will, in due course, decide on appropriate remedial action to take.”Both the government and the opposition should remember these facts before starting off unnecessary exchanges, which in the long run can only harm the country. (CS) – See more at: http://www.nation.lk/edition/lens/item/34573-piggybacking-mangala-style.html#sthash.vieZEITN.dpuf