Mr. Giovanni Maria Vian
Editor
L' Osservatore Romano
00120 - CITTA' DEL VATICANO
Fax No. 06.69883252
28th January 2008

Dear Sir,

I wish to make reference to the articles that have appeared in your esteemed newspaper, on 11th, 12th and 18th January, concerning the present situation in Sri Lanka. Though the State of Vatican does not come under my jurisdiction and as the paper is published by the Vatican, I did not have the opportunity to read it. Yet, a very respected and senior Catholic Priest brought these matters to my attention and I thought it was my bounden duty to clarify certain matters in the said news items, so that you would kindly act with circumspect when reporting matters relating to the on going conflict in Sri Lanka.

The contents refer to events that are causing so much loss of life in the country, that I have the honour to represent, giving the incorrect and superficial impression that the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eeelam) is a group of freedom fighters, operating for the liberty of a discriminated minority in Sri Lanka, thereby earning them the sympathy of the readers for their cause.

In reality, the LTTE is a terrorist organization and all their actions must be labeled as plain unjustified terrorist activities that hit indiscriminately and ruthlessly both military and civilian targets. The EU has banned the LTTE, with an official decision, describing it as one of the most dangerous terrorist organizations presently operating in the world. The same decision had already been taken by the USA, leading to the confiscation of large sums of money, raised by funding agencies operating in its territory and destined to finance terrorist and subversive activity. You may be aware that the FBI reported that the "LTTE is the most ruthless and efficient terrorist group in the world". It means, by logical deduction, that the LTTE is even superior to Al Quaeda. To call them by any other name, other than terrorists, would present them in the eyes of the reader as a group that stands for freedom. Therefore, we state that in future when you refer to actions carried out by the LTTE, please do not hesitate to call them terrorists and not freedom fighters.

It is preposterous to determine that the LTTE was not responsible for these attacks on the premise that it has not admitted to them. The history of the LTTE is smeared with killings of civilians of Sinhala Tamil and Muslim ethnicity. The LTTE has killed a majority of the Tamil leaders, who stood for peaceful negotiations, calling them traitors. The LTTE is not so na´ve to acknowledge in the past or in the present the unprovoked attacks on civilians, as they are quite aware of the repercussions that would follow if such admissions are made. There is a possibility of the leader and his movement being arraigned before the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity

If I may take your time to show you that the LTTE vehemently denied the murder of Rajiv Gandhi, by a female suicide bomber, though the investigators indicted Pirbahkaran and his intelligence Chief Pottu Amman with this dastardly crime. The lower Courts found both of them guilty as charged and the Supreme Court of India affirmed the conviction. Yet, the LTTE denied its involvement. When the Sri Lankan government, with the help of other friendly governments was forging ahead to rid the country of terrorism, their official spokesman, the late Dr. Anton Balasingham said that the LTTE should unequivocally tender an apology to the Indian government for killing Rajiv Ganhdi, one their most revered and loved leaders . This clearly demonstrates the manner in which the LTTE confuses the world community and world media by posing as freedom fighters.

The LTTE has committed ethnic cleansing by driving the Muslims from the Jaffna Peninsula and has left them displaced from their property and they are now living as refugees in another district in Sri Lanka.

The manner in which your paper has reported the recent dastardly act of using a claymore mine to kill, women, children and men, peacefully travelling in a bus and then randomly shooting the panic stricken survivors and later the farmers, gives the reader of your esteemed paper, who is oblivious to the methods adopted by the LTTE, the impression that the killing may have been by any other agency other than the LTTE. Superficial information may induce your readers to believe that such blood shedding attacks carried out by the LTTE, have been carried out by some other subversive organization, if not even by the Government itself, if no clear and specific reference is made to the LTTE.

We also note with regret that your newspaper does not and refuses to identify the LTTE as a terrorist group. The wealth of information, from every single source, has clearly and without doubt, established that the LTTE is the most heinous, barbarous terrorist group in the world, who had perfected the use of suicide bombers, which is being tenaciously followed by the Al Qaida and other groups. The LTTE has mastered the method of using children for their warfare and women and disabled persons as suicide bombers. Killing is the philosophy behind their ruthless campaign to control citizens under their control. Any reference to the LTTE as rebels or freedom fighters is undue publicity given to an internationally banned terrorist organization.

Yours faithfully,

Hemantha Warnakulasuriya
Ambassador