LTTE not for repatriation

By Shamindra Ferdinando
The LTTE, which taxes the expatriate Tamil community, has urged several European countries put on hold plans to repatriate Tamils in view of the indefinite ceasefire in the North -East following the MoU between them and the government, official sources said.

"The LTTE fears any large scale repatriation programme," the source said while expressing the belief that the group and several of its front organisations abroad were in touch with foreign governments in this regard. The LTTE has expressed concern that the Norwegian facilitated MoU that has received full international backing may prompt governments to initiate a major repatriation programme.

Their concerns have been expressed both locally and internationally.

The sources said that the LTTE has already made representations to some Colombo-based diplomats. "The LTTE has sought assurance from diplomats that they would not recommend a repatriation programme," the sources said.

The LTTE and its front organisations abroad have also urged European governments not to reject applications of asylum seekers. The sources said thousands of Tamils who have entered the European countries where they have claimed political asylum face deportation.

The LTTE taxes all Tamils working abroad. Knowing that a major repatriation programme would affect its fund raising, the LTTE has stressed that the international community should not rush into such a programme until the they reach a final agreement with the government.

However, the government has repeatedly explained to the international community the situation in the North-East and steps that have been taken to improve the living conditions there.

The government has also allowed Colombo-based diplomats and representatives of international relief agencies to visit the North-East where they have been able to see for themselves the ongoing government programmes. "The situation in the North-East, particularly the Jaffna peninsula, would improve further when the Kandy-Jaffna A9 road re-opens for non-military traffic in the second week of April," the sources said.