Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers added to EU terrorist blacklist

The EU officially added Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels to its terror blacklist Wednesday, effectively freezing the group's assets across the 25-nation bloc and hindering its ability to raise money for its armed cause in Sri Lanka. The updated blacklist was published Wednesday, two days after EU ministers voted without debate to include the Tigers a move that could affect Sri Lanka's shaky peace process.

"The decision of the EU to list the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) should come as a surprise to nobody," the EU said in a statement. The list also includes the al-Qaida terror group and the militant Palestinian group Hamas. The EU said that the Tamil Tigers had "systematically ignored" its warnings to give up their armed conflict on the Indian Ocean island, and commit to peace talks, the statement said.

The rebel group still must "amend its violent course and return to peace talks," the EU statement said, adding that it would continue contacts with the group "where such contacts, in the pursuit of the peace process, may help to bring about a return to negotiations and an end to violence." The EU also called on the Sri Lankan government to curb violence in government-controlled areas.

Tamil Tiger rebels said Wednesday they would make a final decision on attending Sri Lanka cease-fire talks in Norway only after seeing details of the EU move to label them as terrorists. The United States and Canada have already listed the Tamil Tigers as a terrorist organization. Listing the rebels as terrorists is meant to undermine their international legitimacy and hamper their fundraising efforts, reports the AP.

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