The new Australian government under Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is said to be giving serious consideration to the banning of the LTTE and further curbing activities of the outfit on Australian soil, a Sri Lankan official said.
Foreign Secretary Dr. Palitha T.B. Kohona who met Australia s Foreign Minister Stephen Smith, in Perth last week said the two sides had discussed a request by Sri Lanka to ban the LTTE in Australia.
It was noted very seriously, Dr. Kohona told the Daily Mirror when asked what sort of response the new Australian government gave to the request.
In a statement condemning the assassination of Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle the Australian Foreign Ministry said it remained concerned about the escalation of violence in Sri Lanka and condemns terrorism in all its forms and stressed that the use of terrorist methods by the LTTE is completely unacceptable. Dr. Kohona said that the meeting with the Australian Foreign Minister was the first between the two countries since the appointment of the new Australian government.
We appreciated the legal measures taken by Australia to curb LTTE fund raising on their soil. Action has already been taken against three LTTE operatives, Dr. Kohona said of the meeting.
The Australian Foreign Minister had on his part noted the importance encouraging the Sri Lankan Diaspora in Australia support peace moves in Sri Lanka.
The Sri Lankan Foreign Secretary had also raised concerns of the LTTE using its connections in South East Asia to carry out human trafficking to Australia.
Led by the Society for Peace, Unity and Human Rights in Sri Lanka (SPUR) there is a growing lobby to list the LTTE under the Criminal Code of 1995 which would proscribe it under domestic law, giving the Police more powers to track down and prosecute agents of the LTTE in Australia.
In May last year two Melbourne men were arrested and charged with being members of and raising money for the banned LTTE.
I want to make it clear that these men weren t involved in any possible attacks on Australia soil, Federal Police Assistant Commissioner Frank Prendergast told reporters at the time.
The offences they have been charged with are activities which occurred in Australia supporting the LTTE in Sri Lanka, he added. The arrests came after dawn raids in Melbourne and Sydney.