US embassy cable - 04COLOMBO218

OFFICIAL INFORMAL NUMBER 019 (02/09/04)

Identifier: 04COLOMBO218
Wikileaks: View 04COLOMBO218 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Colombo
Created: 2004-02-09 11:24:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: AMGT CE MV Religious Freedom Elections
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

C O N F I D E N T I A L COLOMBO 000218 
 
SIPDIS 
 
OFFICIAL INFORMAL 
 
FOR SA/INS 
 
E.O. 12958:  DECL:  02/09/14 
TAGS: AMGT, CE, MV, Religious Freedom, Elections 
SUBJECT:  OFFICIAL INFORMAL NUMBER 019 (02/09/04) 
 
 
Classified by Ambassador Jeffrey J. Lunstead for reasons 1.5 
(b) and (d). 
 
CONTENTS: ELECTION MONITORING 
-         ATTACK ON CHRISTIAN NGO 
-         PROPOSED IRF VISIT 
-         STRIKES 
 
 
ELECTION MONITORING 
------------------- 
 
1.  (SBU) ACTION REQUEST:  You will see our front- 
channel report re the calling of elections on April 2. 
As with previous elections in Sri Lanka, we are looking 
into the options of assisting election monitoring. 
During the December 2001 parliamentary elections, the 
National Democratic Institute (NDI) received Department 
funds for election work, then sub-contracted the 
monitoring work to two local NGOs (PAFFREL and CPA).  In 
order effectively to solicit monitoring proposals from 
NDI and other organizations, such as the International 
Republican Institute, we need to know how much funding 
is available from the Department.  Can someone please 
check with DRL to see if that office can provide funds 
for the April elections?  In order to implement and get 
monitors on the ground, we need an answer, including 
dollar amount, before the end of this week (February 
13).  AID will also be contributing to the overall 
funding.  (POL/AID) 
 
ATTACK ON CHRISTIAN NGO 
----------------------- 
 
2.  (U) FYI.  On February 8, an office for the Christian 
NGO, World Vision, was damaged in a fire attack.  No one 
was injured in the incident, which took place some 20 
miles north of the north-central cultural city of 
Anuradhapura.  Contacts have told us the police 
arrested, and then released, one individual (there are 
reports that maybe more than one individual was arrested 
and then released).  This is the third time in three 
months that a World Vision office was attacked.  The 
other two attacks occurred at sites in and around 
Colombo.  See Colombo 192 for the most recent update on 
religious freedom issues.  (POL) 
 
IRF VISIT 
--------- 
 
3.  (SBU) FYI.  Despite our best efforts to turn off a 
proposed visit by Will Inboden, Special Adviser for IRF, 
slated for late February, Mission just received another 
email from Inboden.  As you will see in our February 9 
email reply, we continue to stress that his proposed 
February 26-27 visit does not come at a good time.  The 
Ambassador, along with most of the country team, will be 
in the Maldives for meetings.  POL, which will be down 
to one person that time frame, will be managing SA/RA 
Schlosser's visit, which is slated for 2/25-28. We 
communicated to Inboden that we hope to be able to host 
him in Sri Lanka at a later point in time because we 
think an IRF visit is important.  Pls make this point, 
too.  (POL) 
 
STRIKES 
------- 
 
4.  (C) FYI.  Just want to flag that Sri Lanka has been 
plagued by a series of recent strikes.  Many observers 
feel that these strikes have contributed to a general 
perception that the PM's government, after months 
without a resolution to the cohabitation crisis, is 
having some troubles.  Whether this perception plays 
much into the coming election campaign is unclear. 
Unions connected with the extremist Janatha Vimukthi 
Peramuna (JVP) party and the SLFP are behind all three 
of the recent strikes by healthcare, agriculture, and 
railway workers.  (POL/ECON) 
 
LUNSTEAD 

Latest source of this page is cablebrowser-2, released 2011-10-04