EU ban gave Sri Lanka Carte Blanche - SLMM Head

[TamilNet, Thursday, 24 August 2006, 12:42 GMT]
Major General Ulf Henricsson, the Head of Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM), in an interview to AFP, Thursday, criticised the European Union for having ignored a "seven-point memo" sent by the SLMM before banning the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). The EU ruling meant the Sri Lankan government thought it had "carte blanche" to take on the Tigers, the outgoing Head of Mission said adding that he had become "more convinced than other" that there would be no military solution to the Sri Lankan crisis.

Ulf Henricsson,  SLMM head
"The EU decision was made following a "more high-level decision made in the cafes of Brussels," the Swedish Major General was quoted as saying.

"If one is suddenly on a terrorist list it's not very difficult to see we're going to run into difficulties -- which we have done."

"We had (seven) bullets in that memo which was some kind of worst case scenario," Henricsson told AFP about the message he passed to EU before the EU decision was made.

"All of the bullets were fulfilled," he has told referring to the current situation.

"They [the EU] can't say they didn't know or at least have any signal about what could happen," Maj. Gen. Henricsson was quoted as saying.

"I think the EU thought that the government of Sri Lanka was a responsible government, who could take the appropriate decision and work for peace instead of war."

"I would say it's [the EU decision to ban LTTE] a mistake, it was a wrong decision because... the LTTE and the government have signed the ceasefire agreement as equal partners."

"If one is suddenly on a terrorist list it's not very difficult to see we're going to run into difficulties -- which we have done."

Diplomatic circles in Colombo interpreted the message from the outgoing SLMM Head as a serious blow to Colombo that initially insisted upon appointing a Swedish Head of Mission as all the previous HoMs had faulted Colombo for the deadlock in the implementation of the February 2002 Ceasefire Agreement.


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