GL 3   The Minister of External Affairs  Prof. G.L. Peiris briefed the Colombo based diplomatic community today regarding action taken by the Government against groups and individuals involved in terrorist funding and other activity connected with plans to revive terrorism. Major General K.H.G. Hendawitharana, represented the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development  at the briefing.

The purpose of the briefing was to give the diplomatic community information regarding action taken by the government against groups and individuals involved in terrorist funding and other activity connected with plans to revive terrorism. The Minister said that the government’s action in designating 16 groups and 424 individuals had been taken under United Nations Security Council Regulation 1373 which not only empowered governments to resort to such measures but imposed on States an imperative duty to effectively suppress terrorist funding.

The Government today told the diplomatic community that there is compelling evidence regarding the remittance of substantial sums of money from overseas for planned terrorist activity in Sri Lanka and as a result of extensive investigations recently, the government is aware of the sources of this funding and the bank accounts into which the money had been paid. 65 arrests have been made, and 19 persons have been released after questioning.

The Minister said that the funds sent were intended to be used for, intelligence and propaganda purposes, with groups of persons and others operating under their direction assigned responsibility in respect of each of these areas.  Timely and decisive action has been effective in warding off any threat of growing activity, and the government will continue to watch the situation closely and not hesitate to adopt such further measures as may be required the Minister said.

Minister Peiris drew attention to the attempt in some quarters to paint a picture of a threat to tourism and investment and characterized these attempts as entirely unwarranted and mischievous.  The government is in total control of the situation, and has every confidence of eradicating at the very inception, any attempt to revive terrorism in any form in any part of the country, he commented.

He said the benefits flowing from the eradication of terrorism in Sri Lanka are by no means confined to the country, but accrue to the entire South Asian region. He mentioned, in particular, Sri Lanka’s significant contribution to maintaining the safety of sea lanes in the area and the control of a wide range of illegal activity including people smuggling and the proliferation of small arms.

Prof Peiris underlined the importance of pre-emptive action to deal with the kinds of activity he had described, and requested all nations represented at the briefing to extend their fullest co-operation in preventing the inflow of funds for terrorist purposes and forestalling all forms of activity which these resources are intended to support.

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