Sri Lanka is pushing a blanket ban on the LTTE in Australia and efforts towards this goal are progressing, Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama told a news conference yesterday.
Announcing a top international counter terrorism conference which will be hosted in Colombo from October 18 to 20 at the BMICH, the Minister said the Government was working on the Australian ban but it was unreasonable to expect the proscription to come into force overnight.
He termed the recent arrests of LTTE operatives and key fund raisers across the globe from West to East as an outstanding achievement of the Government`s foreign policy, responding to a query if the Government was happy with the progress it has made after the assassination of former Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar.
Themed, `Terrorism: A Challenge to Democratically Elected Governments,` the conference will strive to portray the true picture of the threat of terrorism facing Sri Lanka.
`Since the signing of the ceasefire agreement, there are sections of the global community seeking to dilute and ignore the fact that Sri Lanka confronts a serious terrorist problem from the LTTE,` the Minister said adding that this forum will seek to correct that attitude.
Organised by the Lakshman Kadirgamar, Institute of International Relations and Strategic Studies (LKIIRSS), the event will see a gathering of top international counter terrorism figures, academics and journalists who have wide experience in the field.
Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake will be the Chief Guest at the inaugural session and renowned French investigating magistrate heading counter terrorism affairs Judge Jean Louis Bruguiere will be the guest of honour.
Judge Bruguiere was invited to assist the US Government in investigating 9/11 al Qaeda attack and was credited for having tracked down and captured one of the world`s most wanted terrorists, Carlos (the Jackal).
An entire session of the conference will be devoted to the theme `Transforming Terrorists,` where one time rebels like EPDP leader Douglas Devananda who joined the democratic mainstream and now a state minister will join to share their experience with the delegates.
`This is reflective of the Sri Lanka Government`s continued commitment to seek to arrive at a negotiated settlement, notwithstanding past failures,` Minister Bogollagama said.
The conference is expected to garner equal attention to the terrorism threat in the developing world, and discuss strategies to counter the menace through collective effort. Among the guest speakers are Former Director European Centre for the Study of Conflicts (France) Dr.Gerard Chaliand, former Commander of the Indian Army Gen.V.P. Malik, International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research, Singapore Dr. Rohan Gunaratna, Political Scientist and analyst, RAND Corporation USA Dr. Peter Chalk and Assistant Professor, Nanyang Technological University Singapore Shyam Tekwani.