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 Post subject: "LTTE is a terrorist group of the first order" - D
 Post Posted: Wed May 17, 2006 1:33 am 
"LTTE is a terrorist group of the first order" - Donald Camp

@ Embassy of the USA - Colombo

U.S. Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Donald Camp Interviews with Rupavahini TV May 16, 2006

Rupavahini: What’s the purpose of your visit to Sri Lanka?

Camp: I’m here because of our concern about the developing situation in Sri Lanka. The trend lines are discouraging in terms of the increasing provocations by the LTTE, the fact that killings are increasing, all of these suggest that Sri Lanka is not on the way back to a lasting Ceasefire. We would like to do everything we can, as an outside party, to encourage a return to the peace process. The Co-chairs will be meeting in [a few] weeks, so I’m here to look at what we might do to encourage that progress back to the peace process.

Rupavahini: Mr. Camp, the U.S. is a friend of Sri Lanka, and you are known to be a very good friend of Sri Lanka. What do you see as the solution to the ethnic issue?

Camp: I don’t think that it’s really our role, as an outsider, to prescribe a solution to the conflict, or the dilemma in which Sri Lanka finds itself. I do think people of all persuasions, of all ethnic groups, of all political parties, need to get together and present a united front, and decide that Sri Lanka’s future will be peace and prosperity and democracy and territorial integrity, rather than the alternative.

Rupavahini: What can the U.S. say to help Sri Lanka during this war of aggression launched by the LTTE, especially if Prabakharan escalates into full-scale conflict?

Camp: Sri Lanka has always known that it has the moral support , the diplomatic support of the United States, and that will continue to be true. Certainly, the LTTE is a terrorist group of the first order. That said, there’s no question that the government of Sri Lanka has responsibilities as well. One of those, which the government has certainly acknowledged, is to address the legitimate grievances of the Tamil people. That includes, of course, dealing with the disturbing number of killings in recent months. This is something the government has said it will investigate. We think those investigations should be carried out promptly and thoroughly –we think it’s the responsibility of the government to uphold law and order, and that is a responsibility of any democratic government.

Rupavahini: What is your government’s position on attempts by the EU to list the LTTE as a terrorist group?

Camp: We have encouraged the EU to list the LTTE. We think the LTTE is very deserving of that label. We think it will help cut off financial supplies and weapons procurement and the like.

Rupavahini: The LTTE’s Sea Tiger leader, Soosai, told the BBC once : “Organizations like Al Qaeda are already copying us. They’re using our tactics, in Yemen they used our strategy of suicide attacks to blow up an American ship.” Your comments as America leads the war on terror?

Camp: The LTTE should not be proud of its claim to be the originator of suicide bombings as a tactic. In fact, they were not; our Marine barracks were attacked in 1983, in Lebanon [by suicide bombers]. I think the LTTE should re-assess its methods and should abandon terrorism. That’s the only way it can really have a future in a united Sri Lanka.

Rupavahini: Thank you Mr. Camp.

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