Norway misleading Europe on LTTE: Minister

New Delhi, August 29:

Sri Lanka’s new foreign minister has accused the island’s peacebroker Norway of misleading European nations about the “terrorist” nature of the Tamil Tiger rebels, a report said today.

Anura Bandaranaike, named after his predecessor’s slaying which Colombo has blamed on the Tigers, urged India to be “very emphatic to the free world that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam is a terrorist organisation.” Colombo would like India “to try to influence the Europeans in particular who have been misled by Norwegians...away from the LTTE,” he told The Hindu newspaper. “The Europeans have been misinformed deliberately ...the role of Norway is under severe criticism in Sri Lanka,” he said.

Norway was asked by Sri Lanka in 2000 to act as a peacebroker to end the island’s three-decade-old ethnic conflict. But Sri Lankan critics have regularly accused it of bias toward the rebels. The Tigers “must feel the heat for what they have done,” said Bandaranaike, who spoke during a two-day visit to India late last week.

Bandaranaike, brother of President Chandrika Kumaratunga, said he would like Europe to take action against such Tiger activities as fund-raising. Colombo has repeatedly asked India to take a more hands-on role in the peace process but Bandaranaike’s comments marked the first time that Sri Lanka has spelt out a role it would like Delhi to play.