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Cablegate: Colombo Eac Meeting: April 29 Attack On Petroleum

VZCZCXYZ0001
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHLM #0646 1221428
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 021428Z MAY 07
FM AMEMBASSY COLOMBO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5969
INFO RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 0929
RUEHCG/AMCONSUL CHENNAI 7645

UNCLAS COLOMBO 000646

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR DS, CA, SCA/INS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREF PREL AORC CE
SUBJECT: COLOMBO EAC MEETING: APRIL 29 ATTACK ON PETROLEUM
FACILITIES AND PROCEDURES FOR FUTURE LTTE AIR ATTACKS

REF: A. COLOMGO 637
B. COLOMBO 636

1. (SBU) On May 2, 2007, Charge chaired a meeting of the
Colombo Emergency Action Committee. Representatives from
RSO, Consular, Management, Political, Econ, Public Diplomacy,
IPC, USAID, DAO, ODC, IBB, and CSI attended. The EAC was
convened to discuss the April 29 attack by LTTE light
aircraft on two Colombo petroleum facilities (reftels) and
measures to be taken in the event of future air attacks by
the LTTE attacks.

2. (SBU) The AC first addressed procedures to be followed
at he Chancery and the American Center. The military
ordered power to be cut in the greater Colombo ara for
approximately one hour during the April 29air attacks to
reduce visibility for the LTTE aicraft. While to date no
written request has bee received from the Government of Sri
Lanka (GSL) Sri Lankan army personnel asked the local guard
orce to turn off the Embassy generator on April 29during
the blackout. We did not comply with thi verbal request.
(Note: In response to previous TTE air attacks, the GSL has
directed high-rise otels and office buildings to refrain
from using heir generators.) The EAC determined that due to
the need to maintain communications and security systems, the
Embassy would not cut its generator in the event of a future
air attack. We are, however, reviewing the feasibility of
turning off some, although not all, exterior lights in the
event of a blackout triggered by another air strike. In
addition, a Mana
gement Notice will advise employees to turn off office lights
when leaving for the night, leaving only the corridor lights
on during the night time hours.

3. (SBU) The EAC determined that similar procedures would be
followed at residences of Mission personnel. Generators
would not be turned off, but interior lights would be reduced
to the extent possible. We are reviewing the possibility of
turning off some exterior lights at residences in the event
of a power blackout triggered by an air strike.

4. (SBU) The EAC discussed new security measures in the area
of communications and general safety procedures during an
aerial attack. Specifically, EAC decided new Security
Notices would go out to all employees recommending that
emergency radios be carried at night. Post One will send a
message by the emergency radio network advising personnel
whether a blackout is due to "normal" power supply
fluctuations or the result of an air attack. The Security
Notices will also advise staff in the event of an air attack
to reduce illumination and move to lower level of residences
near structural support, and if away from their residences to
take appropriate cover. These measures were agreed upon to
limit injury from falling anti-aircraft fire or debris of a
wreckage should the LTTE planes be successfully targeted and
destroyed. (Note: Several persons in Colombo were injured on
April 29 by falling anti-aircraft fire.) Similar language
will be issued in the form of a Warden Message for AMCITS in
country.

5. (SBU) The EAC discussed moves by several air carriers to
suspend service or reduce flights to Colombo. Cathay Pacific
and Emirates airlines have both suspended operations, while
Singapore Airlines has stated it will go to daytime flights
only.

6. (SBU) RSO will discuss these measures with other foreign
missions in Colombo and with U.S. businesses and U.S
contractors in country. Several other missions in the
immediate vicinity of the U.S. Mission have received similar
verbal requests from the military to refrain from the use of
generators.
MOORE

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