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Cablegate: Mgkv01: Sri Lanka Rejects Recognition of Kosovo

VZCZCXYZ0001
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHLM #0172 0510201
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 200201Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY COLOMBO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7705
INFO RUEHBW/AMEMBASSY BELGRADE PRIORITY 0001
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 4259
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI PRIORITY 1847
RUEHPS/USOFFICE PRISTINA PRIORITY 0004
RUEHCG/AMCONSUL CHENNAI PRIORITY 8339
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 0737
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA PRIORITY 2621
RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE PRIORITY 0003
RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI PRIORITY
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO PRIORITY 0009
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS PRIORITY

UNCLAS COLOMBO 000172

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR KOSOVO MONITORING GROUP, SCA/INS, AND EUR/SCE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL UN UNMIK YI EU KV CE
SUBJECT: MGKV01: SRI LANKA REJECTS RECOGNITION OF KOSOVO

REF: SECSTATE 16319

1. (U) On February 17, Sri Lanka rejected Kosovo's
declaration of independence, citing its potential to set an
"unmanageable" precedent, and claiming that it violates the
UN Charter and UN Security Council Resolution 1244.

2. (U) In a statement issued on February 17, the Foreign
Ministry stated: "We note that the declaration of
independence was made without the consent of the majority of
people in Serbia. The Unilateral Declaration of Independence
(UDI) by Kosovo could set an unmanageable precedent in the
conduct of international relations, the established global
order of sovereign States and could thus pose a grave threat
to international peace and security. This action by Kosovo
is a violation of the Charter of the United Nations, which
enshrines the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Member
States. Moreover, the UN Security Council Resolution 1244 of
10th June 1999 reaffirms commitment to the sovereignty and
territorial integrity of all States of the region. This
action is particularly regrettable, since all efforts at
reaching a negotiated political settlement on the future
status of Kosovo, as envisaged by the Security Council
Resolution 1244, have not been exhausted."

3. (SBU) In an editorial published in the 'Sunday Island' on
February 17, Dayan Jayatilleka (Sri Lanka's Permanent
Representative to UN organizations in Geneva) implied strong
parallels between Sri Lanka and Serbia as sovereign states
dealing with secessionist forces. Jayatilleka cited two
alternative options for Kosovo: 1) "the fullest autonomy
within Serbia"; and 2) "the carving out of the Serbian
majority portion of Kosovo and its annexation with Serbia."
He summed up the "lessons for Sri Lanka: never withdraw the
armed forces from any part of our territory in which they are
challenged, and never permit a foreign presence on our soil."
Jayatilleka closed with a thinly-veiled reference to Sri
Lanka's relations with the U.S.: "...all state and non-state
actors which work towards the weakening of state sovereignty
in the non metropolitan areas of the world...cannot be
regarded as the strategic friends, allies and partners of Sri
Lanka."

4. (SBU) COMMENT: The Sri Lankan Government clearly felt a
sense of urgency in rejecting Kosovo's independence, issuing
a statement on the very day that Kosovo made its declaration.
As one peace advocate and proponent of federalism told us,
"recognition of a separatist movement by world powers is the
Sinhalese majority's worst nightmare." The LTTE will surely
seek maximum propaganda advantage of these developments for
its purposes. Ambassador and Emboffs will make a concerted
effort to explain to the Sri Lankan government and public
that the two cases are different and that Kosovo has no
precedent value for other situations. However, we see little
or no possibility of changing the GSL's stand, which is
driven by its own domestic imperatives.
BLAKE

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