Sri Lanka conveyed appreciation on Belgium’s Counter-Terrorism stance against LTTE
Sri Lanka’s Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha has expressed Sri Lanka’s appreciation to the Belgian Government for the continued vigilance maintained to prevent LTTE rump elements from using Belgian soil.
He welcomed the recent conviction by the Criminal Court of Antwerp of a Belgian national of Sri Lankan Tamil origin, who was accused of being a member of the LTTE, on charges including human smuggling, money laundering and providing forged documents.
Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Belgium, Luxembourg and the EU, Ravinatha Aryasinha made these observations when he paid last week a farewell call on the Secretary General of the Belgian Foreign Ministry Dirk Achten in Brussels.
The Ambassador said the increasing number of convictions handed down by Courts in the UK, France, The Netherlands and the latest Belgium, and the ongoing prosecutions against suspected LTTE activists in Germany, underlined the continuing concern shown by the law enforcement and criminal justice authorities in Europe regards such activities, despite the LTTE being militarily defeated in Sri Lanka. He said the increasing anti-Sri Lanka propaganda being generated by elements abroad sympathetic to the LTTE, was a means of deflecting attention from their continuing acts of criminality in Western countries using the network, funds and personnel of the LTTE and action being taken by Western governments against them.
Ambassador Aryasinha also appreciated the lead taken by Belgium in the aftermath of the ending of the terrorist conflict to send a 40 member business delegation to Sri Lanka and through increased ODA funding, favorable credit ratings and positive revisions of its travel advisory, the encouragement provided by the Belgian Government to businessmen and tourists to engage in trade, to invest in projects in Sri Lanka, as well as to travel to the country. He said as a result in 2011 while Sri Lanka’s exports to Belgium had recorded a 50.1% growth and imports from Belgium grew by 56.4%, Belgium was the second largest source of investment among EU countries to invest in Sri Lanka in 2010, and the 87.5% growth of Belgian visitors to Sri Lanka in 2011 was the highest annual increase in growth of tourist arrivals from any country to Sri Lanka in 2011. He also acknowledged the important role played in 2010 by the Belgian EU Presidency to help move EU-Sri Lanka relations forward.
Secretary General Achten assured the Sri Lankan Ambassador that Belgium would continue to remain vigilant against any activities by the LTTE. He said Belgium was encouraged by the efforts being taken by Sri Lanka following the prolonged conflict, was keen to support economic development in the country and was glad to see the positive results.
He added that the travel advisory on Sri Lanka was recently further revised, to encourage Belgians also to visit the Eastern Province. Mr. Achten further observed that Belgium welcomed the LLRC report, encouraged its implementation and was keen to remain engaged with Sri Lanka as the country continued its process of reconciliation and development.
- Asian Tribune -