US embassy cable - 04COLOMBO291

OFFICIAL INFORMAL NUMBER 028 (02/23/04)

Identifier: 04COLOMBO291
Wikileaks: View 04COLOMBO291 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Colombo
Created: 2004-02-23 11:04:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: AMGT CE MV External Relations Elections LTTE
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 SECTION 01 OF 03 COLOMBO 000291 
 
SIPDIS 
 
OFFICIAL INFORMAL 
 
FOR SA/INS 
 
E.O. 12958:  DECL:  02/23/14 
TAGS: AMGT, CE, MV, External Relations, Elections, LTTE - Peace Process 
SUBJECT:  OFFICIAL INFORMAL NUMBER 028 (02/23/04) 
 
Classified by DCM James F. Entwistle for reasons 1.5 (b) and 
(d). 
 
CONTENTS: No Meeting with CBK 
-         Ambassador and Team to Maldives 
-         Indian High Commissioner Views 
-         Donor Lunch 
-         Parliamentary Election Update 
-         Translating the HRR Into Local Languages? 
-         DMI?  PSI? 
-         Schlosser Visit 
 
No Meeting with CBK 
------------------- 
 
1. (C)  The Ambassador's call on the President did not come 
through February 23.  She was up-country most of the day. 
We will reinvigorate the request when the Ambassador returns 
from the Maldives (see below) and in the meantime brief some 
of her key advisors. 
 
Ambassador and Team to Maldives 
------------------------------- 
 
2. (U) Ambassador departs Tuesday morning Feb 24 for 
Maldives. He will do calls in Male on Feb 25, visit a non- 
resort atoll on Feb 26 day, then host our national day 
reception Feb 26 evening. Also in Male for all or part of 
that time will be Datt Rich Girven, GSO Jim Stover, PAO 
Bruce Lohof, Econ/Comm Dean Thompson, and Consular Dave 
Williams. 
 
Ambassador will stay on in Maldives Friday through Sunday 
Feb 29, back afternoon of Feb 29.  He will be available by 
cellphone while in the Maldives.  DCM will be in Colombo 
throughout. 
 
Indian High Commissioner Views 
------------------------------ 
 
3. (C) Ambassador had lunch with Indian High Commissioner 
Sen on Feb 20, where Sen was quite candid (and sometimes 
even believable). According to Sen: 
 
--The dissolution of Parliament is Ranil's fault. He was not 
flexible enough, should have taken the deal (which Sen was 
brokering) to accept control of military theater commands. 
 
--Nonetheless, a CBK victory would be a disaster and the JVP 
was awful. Therefore India was actively working to help 
Ranil. India had convinced Ceylon Workers Congress leader 
Thondaman to cooperate with Ranil, and had done the same 
with Muslim leader Athaullah. (Comment: Next day's papers 
showed a smiling Athaullah signing cooperation MOU with CBK. 
Guess Sen's powers of persuasion are not as powerful as he 
thought.) 
 
--Impossible to predict the election. 
 
--After the election, India should tell GSL (whoever that 
is) and LTTE to make an agreement and stick to it.  If 
either side broke the agreement, India would come down on 
them militarily! 
 
--When reminded India had tried this before (IPKF in 1980's) 
with dismal results, Sen said Indian capabilities were much 
better now, and beside, the IPKF had had the Tigers on the 
run when they were betrayed by VP Singh who agreed to pull 
them out. A few more months and they could have finished the 
job. 
 
Throughout Sen evinced that disdain for lesser creatures 
(the Sri Lankans) that those who have sat through 
interminable lectures in South Block are all too familiar 
with. At various points he quoted Abraham Lincoln, Tacitus, 
Browning and Yeats. 
 
Donor Lunch 
----------- 
 
4. (SBU) Norwegian Ambassador Hans Brattsker hosted donor 
lunch Feb 23 following his return from Washington co-chairs 
meeting. Highlights: 
 
ELECTIONS: 
 
--All present agreed we should be neutral with regard to 
parties in current election, but not to policies. Emphasize 
need to support peace process. 
 
--Brattsker would travel to Kilinocchi on Feb 25 to brief 
LTTE on co-chairs meeting. 
 
--LTTE has indicated they want polls open in the Vanni, said 
would welcome international and local observers. Ambassador 
stressed need to tell LTTE they needed to act properly and 
not coerce nominating process. Elections would appear fair 
but be meaningless if only one Tamil candidate (hand-picked 
by Tigers with others intimidated into not running) were 
available to voters.  Brattsker said he would deliver the 
message about the need for "political space." 
 
--EU will decide in next two days whether or not to send 
monitoring team. If decision is yes, members will start to 
arrive shortly. Commonwealth also deciding. 
 
--Other donors have contributed funds to Pafrel and other 
local election monitors.  Gap still exists and US hopes to 
fill it. 
 
--Donors agreed to coordinate their local staff monitoring 
so as to avoid overlap. 
ASSISTANCE 
 
--IMF and World Bank will have Board meetings end of next 
week, expect to issue statements on Sri Lanka referring to 
peace process and economic policies.  Statements will be 
"forthright." Good opportunity to make impact in Sri Lanka. 
Donors who want input into the statement(s) should give 
their suggestions early to Fund/Bank staff. 
 
--Ambassador pushed once again a public relations strategy 
which would include release of assistance figures for 2003 
(and perhaps earlier years) showing over $1 billion 
disbursed in '03, with significant amounts to North and 
East.  World Bank agreed to set up an event, with 
participation by all three MDB's and co-chairs. 
 
--In recent visits to European capitals, LTTE pushed for 
direct funding. All donors (Netherlands, Sweden, 
Switzerland, Italy, Norway) told them this was impossible, 
wanted a NERF-like mechanism. 
 
--World Bank has proposed to Tigers a NERF-like mechanism in 
which LTTE, NGO's and GSL could each put up development 
proposals to a World Bank Secretariat. Proposals would need 
to be agreed by both sides, after which they would be 
evaluated for Trust Fund funding by a Donor Coordinating 
Committee. (US would not participate as we would not put 
money into such a Trust Fund.  Idea is still important to us 
as it would allow other funding to move forward.) 
 
PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION UPDATE 
----------------------------- 
 
5.  (C) FYI.  Politicians continued their maneuverings 
over the weekend and we offer below the latest tidbits 
on the upcoming parliamentary election: 
 
-- With the week-long nomination period officially 
ending on February 24, parties are busy finalizing 
their candidates for each electoral district and the 
national list.  We will let you know who has aligned 
with whom, once the dust settles. 
 
-- You will see our front-channel today on weekend 
changes and cross overs that occurred in the Muslim 
bloc. 
 
-- Ronnie de Mel, a senior MP who was most recently in 
the President's party, created news again on February 
21 by announcing switching parties and would contest 
his southern electoral district as a United National 
Party (UNP) candidate.  We had earlier reported de 
Mel's vehement denial of rumors indicating he would 
cross over to the UNP.  President Kumaratunga was 
apparently not too pleased with de Mel's decision, 
wishing him well in his "checker political endeavors." 
 
-- The chief monks of two leading Buddhist sects, 
Asgiriya and Malwatte, in the country have publicly 
expressed their disapproval for the Sihala Urumaya 
party's intention to field a Buddhist monk-only slate 
for parliamentary elections.  Citing their distress and 
concern, the two Buddhist leaders warned that monks 
should act in advisory and spiritual capacities to 
those who govern.  (POL) 
 
TRANSLATING THE HRR INTO LOCAL LANGUAGES? 
----------------------------------------- 
 
6.  (SBU) We noticed that the cable highlighting public 
diplomacy methods related to the release of the annual 
human rights report (State 37213) mentions a new 
Congressional requirement that all reports be 
translated into the local languages.  For us, that 
means Sinhala and Tamil for the Sri Lankan report and 
Dhivehi for the Maldivian one.  Would the bureau please 
check with DRL to confirm this requirement, as well as 
SA/PD to see if they are involved in any translations. 
Thanks.  (POL) 
 
DMI?  PSI? 
---------- 
7.  (C) We were wondering about the Department's 
Dangerous Material Initiative (DMI), as outlined in 
State 33733.  It is unclear whether it is an action 
request for all posts, or only Bangkok, Beijing, 
Singapore, and New Delhi.  Further, we are curious as 
to how this complements the on-going Proliferation 
Security Initiative (PSI) that the Department is also 
overseeing.  Finally, we heard from our counterparts at 
the French Embassy that they have a joint demarche 
instruction on PSI to be done possibly with us and/or 
the EU members.  We have not seen anything here on that 
front.  Would the bureau please check if there is any 
joint demarche on the horizon?  (POL) 
 
Schlosser Visit 
--------------- 
 
8.  (U) We're looking forward to seeing John later this 
week and have put together an encyclopedic program for 
him.  (DCM) 
 
LUNSTEAD 

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