COLOMBO, Sri Lanka, May 19 (UPI) -- Sri Lankan Tamil rebels have warned the European Union that a ban on the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam could lead to war.
"A ban will be entirely counterproductive because it will encourage both the government and us to take a hard line," said an LTTE statement.
Anton Balasingham, the LTTE's chief negotiator, told a Tamil Web site that a ban would make the LTTE take the hard line and go for war; invigorate the hard liners in the Sinhala south; and silence the voices of those urging a negotiated settlement of the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka, The Hindustan Times newspaper said Friday.
"The more the international community alienates the LTTE, the more the LTTE would be compelled to tread a hard line," he said. "Further proscriptions will invigorate the hard line elements in the south, including those in the present Sri Lankan government urging the military defeat of the LTTE and silence those advocating a negotiated solution," Balasingham said.
The LTTE would not be deterred by the preferences of the international community, Balasingham said.
Meanwhile, a rebel sniper shot and killed a soldier on the front-line in the Tamil-dominated Jaffna peninsula while two civilians were killed by unknown gunmen in the eastern region.
Colombo has been urging the international community, particularly the European Union, to ban the LTTE, as most of its finances come from EU countries. It has also appealed India to exercise its influence over the EU to impose bans on the armed rebels to stop their sources of funds.