LTTE dealt twin blows by Britain and US

The LTTE’s assets in Britain were frozen last week hours before the US Embassy in Colombo announced that Washington had merged the list of foreign terrorist organisations on which the Tigers are listed with the new terrorists list established by President Bush in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks in the US.

"The combined list is subject to enforcement through the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), which freezes assets of the organisations and individuals on the list and otherwise restricts their activities,’’ the US Embassy here said.

The LTTE was re-designated a Foreign Terrorist Organisation by US Secretary of State Colin Powell on October 11.

Analysts in Colombo said that the merging of the terrorists list can affect LTTE fund raising activities in the US. But they said it was too early to assess how effective this would be.

Although the LTTE had been in the State Department’s list of Terrorists organisations since 1996, President Bush’s earlier proclamation in the wake of the September 11 attack did not include the Tigers.

This had led to criticism here that Washington’s approach to Middle Eastern terrorists groups targeting the US and others threatening countries elsewhere in the world were not the same.

The merging of the terrorists lists meets this criticism, diplomats said.

Our London correspondent Sujeewa Nivunhella reported yesterday that UK has announced the freezing of assets of 25 terrorist organisations including the LTTE in Britain.

Commenting on the move British Chancellor of the Exchequer Gorden Brown has said it showed the readiness of the authorities to do whatever necessary to deprive ter rorists of funds. He further said these listed terrorist organisations either fund or commit terrorism.