EU gives counterterror support package to Sri Lanka

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — The European Union said Monday that it has agreed to provide an 8.5 million euro ($9.6 million) package to help Sri Lanka battle terrorism following Easter Sunday bomb attacks that killed more than 250 people.

It said EU officials held talks on Monday with Sri Lanka’s acting secretary of foreign affairs, Ahmed A. Jawad, about the suicide attacks.

“Common challenges relating to violent extremism and terrorism were discussed and experience regarding responses was shared,” the EU said in a statement.

“The EU underlined the importance of efficient coordination of counterterrorism efforts, the essence of focusing on the prevention of violent extremism and the importance of counterterrorism responses to be fully in line with human rights obligations,” it said.

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The package will be channelled through the United Nations Development Program and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the statement said.

EU meetings were also scheduled with President Maithripala Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana.

Seven suicide bombers from a local Muslim radical group that pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group carried out the attack on three churches and three hotels. More than 500 people were injured.

The EU said the aid package will be channelled through the United Nations Development Program and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

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