US embassy cable - 02COLOMBO1626

SRI LANKA AND ATA TRAINING: A PLEA FOR IT TO CONTINUE

Identifier: 02COLOMBO1626
Wikileaks: View 02COLOMBO1626 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Colombo
Created: 2002-09-05 08:18:00
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Tags: CE KTIA PTER 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.

UNCLAS COLOMBO 001626 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE 
 
DEPARTMENT FOR S/CT AND DS/ATA 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: CE, KTIA, PTER, LTTE - Peace Process 
SUBJECT: SRI LANKA AND ATA TRAINING:  A PLEA FOR IT TO 
CONTINUE 
 
 
(U) Prior to his departure for R&R Ambassador Wills asked 
that the following message be sent. 
 
BEGIN TEXT 
 
1. (U) I have recently heard that S/CT and DS/ATA no longer 
consider Sri Lanka a priority country when determining which 
countries should benifit from the Anti-Terrorism Assistance 
(ATA) Training Program. 
 
2. (U) I hope that this is not true. The ATA program has been 
extremely effective in training SL forces and in extending 
American influence as the GSL for 20 years has battled one of 
the world's deadliest terrorist groups, the LTTE (an FTO 
listed group). 
 
3. (SBU) I have served in many countries where the ATA 
program existed -- most recently as DCM in India where I 
cancelled the program due to Indian abuse.  I am cognizant of 
the potential benifit ATA can yield to a country as well as 
the program's potential to be misused. 
 
4. (SBU) I think the case to continue ATA training in Sri 
Lanka is strong.   Sri Lanka consistently receives 
compliments from ATA instructors and State Department escort 
officers.  Here, unlike what was the case in India, this 
needed program is very much appreciated -- especially by the 
current pro-US government.  The program has had an impact. 
Sri Lanka incorporates ATA curriculum into its police 
training.  It sends candidates who can directly benifit from 
the training - not political cronies.  Recent ATA graduates 
include the Acting Inspector General of Police and likely 
successor to the recently deceased IGP and many other 
high-level police officials.  The corresponding benifit to 
the USG from ATA training is immense as competent, pro-US 
officers take positions of responsibility in the effort 
against terror.  The ATA program review in 2001 found that 
Sri Lanka was indeed using the training in an efficient and 
productive manner. 
 
5. (SBU) On the heels of the Sri Lankan Prime Minister's 
meeting with President Bush and the recent visit of Deputy 
Secretary Armitage to Sri Lanka, decreasing ATA's engagement 
 
SIPDIS 
in this country would send the wrong message.  At a time when 
we are increasing assistance to Sri Lanka, a reduction or 
elimination of one of our highest profile and most successful 
programs, and in one of our highest priority areas, to wit 
the fight against terror, causes me concern. 
 
6. (U) I respectfully ask that S/CT and DS/ATA consider the 
above when deciding which countries should benifit from ATA 
training.  In my view, Sri Lanka deserves this program.  It's 
a program which should be increased rather than reduced. 
 
7. (U)  Thank you very much, Ambassador E. Ashley Wills 
 
END TEXT 
 
AMSELEM 

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