Norway again scuttles EU moves against LTTE
From Neville de Silva in London
Norway once again worked overtime to undermine Sri Lanka's diplomatic thrust to have the European Union take effective action against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

Brussels insiders said that Norway's lobbying caused the EU's Specialist Group of officials who met last Wednesday to put off for further discussion Sri Lanka's case against the Tigers for violating international law, resorting to terrorism and violence and raising funds in EU countries for terrorist activities.

Though Britain, now leading the EU as its rotating president, is said to have been well briefed with background information on the LTTE's activities including in the UK, doubts are being raised in Asian and African diplomatic circles whether London adequately presented the case placed before the EU.
Brussels sources say that Norway was working backstage to sabotage any immediate discussion on the issue using other Nordic countries to do its work.
"You know how it is here," said a Brussels bureaucrat dismayed at the machinations of Oslo and other Nordic neighbours. "All you want is one country to say we cannot decide anything without further discussion and the whole thing ends up in the attic."

"When it next comes out for a dusting, it is long past the expiry date," the Brussels insider said. Meanwhile, a Brussels-based diplomat known to this correspondent for many years, said that Britain had been applying the brakes as well.

"Let's put it this way. The EU president's heart was not in it. And when the president is not keen to push a matter that some wrongly perceive as not materially important to the region, that is what you get. If you want justice don't ever come to Brussels."

Asked why he thought UK is pussyfooting when Tony Blair is keen to push through a tough anti-terrorism resolution at the UN this month, the veteran diplomat said:

"Are you really looking for principle and consistency in diplomacy. See what Tony Blair is doing over Cyprus and Turkey. Cyprus is in the Commonwealth, Britain has interests there but now Blair is ready to sacrifice the interests of Cyprus to get Turkey into the EU and more. Heard of divide and rule," the diplomat asked trenchantly.

A Brussels-based European diplomat speaking on conditions of anonymity drew attention to a statement made on Friday by the EU's Commissioner for External Relations Benita Ferraro-Waldner in India where she reportedly said referring to the call for action against the LTTE:

"This is a decision for member states to take. We have to keep all channels open at this crucial time." "That, my friend, is the voice of Norway speaking. That is the Oslo line. Take my word before long the Norwegians or some European state will invite the LTTE to send a delegation to study how the Swiss make chocolates or how the Swedes catch fish. Then they will be let loose in the continent and that will be the end of Sri Lanka's case as the terrorists conduct diplomacy fascist style," the diplomat said.

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