Oct 202014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2007/08/07MANILA2586.html#
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MANILA2586
2007-08-01 09:14
2011-08-30 01:44
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Manila

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DE RUEHML #2586/01 2130914
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 010914Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7665
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE
RUEHBS/AMEMBASSY BRUSSELS IMMEDIATE 0513
RUEHLM/AMEMBASSY COLOMBO IMMEDIATE 2875
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI IMMEDIATE 2334
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 002586

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR D, SCA, AND EAP

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/08/2027
TAGS: ASEAN ETRD PREL EXBS PGOV PTER PHUM MOPS RP
CE
SUBJECT: THE DEPUTY SECRETARY’S MEETING WITH SRI LANKA FM ROHITHA BOGOLLAGAMA

Classified By: Deputy Secretary Negroponte, reasons 1.4 c, d

¶1. (C) Summary: The government of Sri Lanka (GSL) is
committed to the political agenda of devolution, Sri Lankan
Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama and Defense Secretary
Gotabaya Rajapaksa told Deputy Secretary Negroponte in a July
31 meeting on the sidelines of ASEAN. The FM emphasized Sri
Lanka’s intention to encourage a pluralist democratic
government in the North, reviewed the military’s recent
successes in the East, and committed to reducing civilian
casualties in the conflict with the Liberation Tigers of
Tamil Eelam (LTTE). The FM expressed hope that the joint
U.S.-Sri Lankan military exercises that were postponed last
year would proceed this year, and raised concerns about the
delay in the delivery of Bushmaster guns and ammunition. He
also asked the Deputy Secretary to look into the possibility
of another assessment of Sri Lanka’s eligibility for
Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) funds. Finally, the FM
emphasized that money collected by the LTTE from the Tamil
Diaspora in the U.S. is allowing LTTE-sponsored violence to
continue, and highlighted Sri Lanka’s commitment to human
rights. End Summary.

Committed to Political Agenda
—————————–

¶2. (C) The government of Sri Lanka (GSL) is “totally
committed” to the political agenda of devolution, and will
start with the proposals put forth by the All-Party
Representative Committee (APRC), Sri Lankan Foreign Minister
Rohitha Bogollagama told Deputy Secretary Negroponte in a
July 31 meeting on the sidelines of ASEAN. The GSL is
working to bring moderates and opposition members into the
government, he emphasized, stating that “we want to encourage
a pluralist, democratic environment in the North, and hope
the LTTE is involved in the process.”

¶3. (C) Reviewing the GSL’s recent military successes in the
East, the Foreign Minister explained that the region had been
liberated from the hold of the LTTE. Describing the
situation there as post-conflict, he noted that the
government hopes to showcase this area, particularly to the
Co-Chairs, to gain international assistance for livelihood
and infrastructure projects. “We want people to benefit from
the clearance of the LTTE,” he emphasized.

¶4. (C) Violence between the government and LTTE has
declined compared to last year, Bogollagama stated, adding
that the GSL has been able to mitigate the effects of
violence through security measures. Still, the LTTE
deliberately draws attention to issues such as human rights
or other issues of concern to the international community in
order to detract attention from their own activities. When
the attention of the international community is deflected
onto the government, the LTTE is able to effectively “take a
breather,” and regroup.

Military Cooperation and Surveillance Equipment
——————————————— —

¶5. (C) Highlighting a reduction in civilian casualties as
“the one thing to improve,” Sri Lankan Secretary of Defense
Gotabaya Rajapaksa requested U.S. law enforcement assistance
to address civilian-military issues and improve
communication. The GSL has taken measures to reduce civilian
casualties in the fight against the LTTE, he stated.

¶6. (C) Reiterating Sri Lanka’s desire for enhanced maritime
and ground surveillance capabilities, Rajapaksa also raised
concerns about the “delay” in the delivery of Bushmaster
naval guns and ammunition. He explained that the delay was
not based on legal restrictions due to the country’s internal
political situation, but because of the need to ship the guns
through a “staging point” such as Kuwait. Expressing
appreciation for the long-standing military training program
between the U.S. and Sri Lanka, Rajapaksa noted that the
joint military exercises scheduled last year had been
postponed. “We hope the exercises take place this year,” he
said.

Millennium Challenge Account
—————————-

¶7. (C) Arguing that the “goalposts have shifted” in the
threshold requirements for Millennium Challenge Account (MCA)
disbursement, Foreign Minister Bogollagama asked the Deputy

MANILA 00002586 002 OF 002

Secretary to look into Sri Lanka’s qualification for MCA

SIPDIS
funds. Emphasizing that he had repeatedly raised concerns
with U.S. interlocutors, the FM asked for another assessment
of Sri Lanka’s eligibility for the MCA before a final
decision. Noting that the MCA funds would be used for
development, he requested that the U.S. consider the Sri
Lankan people and “not submit need-based judgments to various
other considerations.” The Deputy Secretary stated he would
look into the matter.

Money from the U.S. Keeps the LTTE Operating
——————————————

¶8. (C) Money collected by the LTTE among the Tamil Diaspora
in the U.S. is allowing LTTE-sponsored violence to continue,
FM Bogollagama emphasized. “We want to de-escalate the
violence so that the political agenda gets out,” but money
raised in Europe, Canada and the U.S. is used to purchase
arms and “hit us at home,” he stated. Without the sources of
foreign funds, the LTTE would be isolated among its own
community because of the civilian casualties they inflict, he
argued. He explained that the GSL would continue to raise
this issue “because we want our position to be clear.”

¶9. (C) Defense Secretary Rajapaksa clarified that the Tamil
Diaspora has been funding the LTTE not because of radicalism,
but because of a desire to make financial contributions to
their homeland. The Diaspora thinks the money they send goes
to the Tamil community, but in reality it goes for purchasing
weapons, he said.

Committed to Human Rights
————————-

¶10. (C) Sri Lanka seeks to be transparent regarding human
rights issues and the detention and prosecution of
terrorists, FM Bogollagama stated. “We want to be
transparent and to see law enforcement authorities
consciously following human rights norms and be more educated
toward civilians.” He also noted that the GSL remained
committed to conducting human rights training at every level
of the military hierarchy. The International Committee of
the Red Cross (ICRC) has been providing assistance for human
rights training at the field level, he said.

¶11. (C) Linguistic differences between military personnel
and the Sri Lankan communities in which they work pose a
challenge, he said, comparing the situation to U.S. military
personnel working in Iraq. The GSL is making an effort to
have officers speak the language of the people they come into
contact with.

¶12. (U) July 31,2007; 1615; Manila, Philippines.

¶13. (U) Meeting Participants:

U.S.
Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte
Kaye Lee, Special Assistant to the Deputy Secretary of State
Siriana Nair, Notetaker
Adam Scarlatelli, Notetaker

Sri Lanka
Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama
W M Senevirathna, Ambassador to the Philippines
Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Secretary of Defense
Donald Perera, Chief of Defense Staff
Dhakshitha Bogollagama, Notetaker
KENNEY

   

 

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