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THE US GOVERNMENT RE-DESIGNATES TAMIL TIGERS AS A FOREIGN TERRORIST GROUP

By Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles

The United States Secretary of State Colin L. Powell re-designated the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) as a foreign terrorist group with 24 others under the powers given to him by the US federal law.

The US Secretary of State in a statement issued in Washington DC said he was re-designating the 25 groups as Foreign Terrorist Groups since the initial designations of these groups in 1997 and 1999 are due to expire on October 8.

The US State Department also handed over the statement of the re-designation to Sri Lanka's Deputy Ambassador J.D.Ariyaratne Wijewardena at the State Department.

Secretary Powell in his statement said , " Everyone of these groups has continued to engage in terrorist activity over the past two years.

Most of these groups- such as HAMAS, the Palestine Islamic Jihad, the Tamil Tigers, the FARC Columbia , Basque ETA, and of course Usama bin Laden's al -Qaida organization - have carried out murderous attacks on innocent people since last designation in 1999." Secretary Powell said ,"Others-such as Egyptian al-Jihad and the Gama'a al-Islamiya - have provided direct support for the terrorist activities for Usama bin Laden's network.

The Secretary of State said he did not re-designate the Japanese Red Army and Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement since the statutory criteria for resignation had not been met. With these action of the Secretary of State the list of designated Foreign Terroist organizations now stand at 28.

He said, " I hope this list will draw the attention of foreign governments across the world to these groups and will encourage those governments to take action , as we have to isolate these terrorist organizations to take action , as we have , to isolate these terrorist organizations , to choke off their sources of financial support , and to prevent their movement across international borders.

" By re-designating them as Foreign Terrorist organizations and publishing that decision on October 5 in the Federal Register the US government continues the measures against these terrorist groups in accordance with the provisions of the anti-terrorism and effective death penalty act.

This act make s it illegal for persons in the United States to provide material support to these terrorist groups. It also requires US financial institutions to block assets held by them.

It also enables US government to deny visas to representatives of these groups.


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