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Cablegate: Embassy Colombo Eac Meeting 02/01/2008

VZCZCXYZ0002
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHLM #0126 0321032
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 011032Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY COLOMBO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7644
INFO RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 1816

UNCLAS COLOMBO 000126

SIPDIS

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

DEPARTMENT FOR DS/IP/RD/SCA, DS/DSS/ITA, CA AND SA/INS
NEW DELHI FOR LEGAL ATTACHE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ASEC CASC PTER
SUBJECT: EMBASSY COLOMBO EAC MEETING 02/01/2008

REF: COLOMBO 0114

1. (SBU) Summary: AmEmbassy Colombo convened an Emergency
Action Committee (EAC) meeting on February 1, 2008. The EAC
discussed Post,s security posture in light of possible
attacks by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in
retaliation for a bombing in LTTE controlled Mannar District
and in the context of the upcoming Sri Lanka Independence Day
holiday. The EAC concluded that security arrangements in
place were commensurate with the threat and that adjustments
to procedural or personal security measures were not required
at this time. The EAC agreed that Post,s security advice to
the general American public was also appropriate to the
threat. End summary.

2. (SBU) On February 1, 2008, AmEmbassy Colombo convened an
EAC meeting. Present were the Ambassador, DCM, RSO, DAO,
PAO, RAO, POL, ECON, MGT, CONS, ODC and USAID. The agenda
items for the meeting were:

--Possible LTTE attacks in Colombo in retaliation for the
January 29 bombing of a bus, the passengers of which included
children, near the Madhu Church area in Mannar District,
Northern Province

--The general security situation relative to the Sri Lankan
Independence Day holiday (February 4)

3. (SBU) The claymore mine bombing of a bus on January 29 in
LTTE controlled Mannar District killed 18 people, including
twelve children (reftel). The LTTE has blamed the attack on
GSL security forces, while the GSL has publicly denied
involvement. LTTE's modus operandi has been to strike back
after such incidents and its past retaliatory attacks have
targeted GSL facilities and personnel, as well as civilians,
in Colombo and elsewhere in the South. The EAC agreed that
the LTTE will probably retaliate, but noted that there
existed no information regarding the exact timing or nature
of attack. The RSO noted the LTTE was unlikely to target
Americans or American interests and that the threat to
Americans continues to be the chance of being a collateral
victim if caught in the proximity of an attack. The EAC
concurred with the RSO and concluded that Post,s procedural
security measures and advice for personal security were
commensurate with the threat.

4. (SBU) Turning to security for the February 4 Independence
Day holiday, the RSO repeated his assessment that Americans
or American interests were unlikely to be the targets of
attacks during the holiday. The RSO added that according to
Sri Lanka Police Service (SLPS) sources, the LTTE had never
successfully attacked during an Independence Day celebration.
Nevertheless, SLPS sources believed that the likelihood of an
attempted LTTE attack during the holiday was high, so GSL
security forces throughout the country, and especially in
Colombo, were on high alert. Security precautions for the
formal ceremony scheduled for the morning of February 4 will
be stringent. GSL security will conduct bomb sweeps and
thereafter guard the venue (Galle Face Green) on a
round-the-clock basis. The navy will patrol the sea adjacent
to the site. Police sharpshooters with high-powered weapons
will stand guard on rooftops of buildings close to the event.
Security forces will strictly control access to the event.
Police and military will close and cordon adjacent roads.
Only invited guests may attend. The guests include
ambassadors and high commissioners of foreign missions
resident in Sri Lanka. The RSO determined that available
information precluded recommending against attendance. The
EAC concurred with the RSO,s conclusion.

5. (SBU) The EAC reviewed Post,s current Travel Warning and
Warden Message. Both of these documents warn Americans to
avoid the likely targets of LTTE attacks (including GSL
facilities, military convoys and VIP motorcades) and to defer
non-essential visits to crowded public places and
high-profile venues. As this advice is appropriate for the
current security situation, the EAC decided that revising the
information was not essential at this time.

6. (U) Post will continue to monitor the security situation
and report further developments, if any, septel. POC for
this message is RSO Michael V. Perkins, who may be contacted
at 94.11.249.8885, 94.11.249.8888 (MSG Post 1 after regular
business hours), or via the classified and unclassified email
systems.
BLAKE

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