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Cablegate: Sri Lanka: Gsl Floats Idea That Peace Talks Must

VZCZCXRO2724
OO RUEHBI
DE RUEHLM #0660 1911055
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 091055Z JUL 08
FM AMEMBASSY COLOMBO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8391
INFO RUEHKA/AMEMBASSY DHAKA PRIORITY 1001
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD PRIORITY 7990
RUEHKT/AMEMBASSY KATHMANDU PRIORITY 6162
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 4483
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI PRIORITY 2162
RUEHNY/AMEMBASSY OSLO PRIORITY 4446
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO PRIORITY 3547
RUEHCG/AMCONSUL CHENNAI PRIORITY 8596
RUEHBI/AMCONSUL MUMBAI PRIORITY 6041
RUEHON/AMCONSUL TORONTO PRIORITY 0708
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA PRIORITY 2860
RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI PRIORITY
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS PRIORITY

UNCLAS COLOMBO 000660

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR SCA/INS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV PTER MOPS CE
SUBJECT: SRI LANKA: GSL FLOATS IDEA THAT PEACE TALKS MUST
INCLUDE TMVP

1. (U) On July 8, English language newspaper The Daily
Mirror quoted Government Peace Secretariat chief Rajiva
Wijesingha saying the "Government has conveyed to the LTTE it
must leave aside its weaponry for future peace talks." The
article also stated that the Government was insisting that
all Tamil political parties, including the TMVP, would need
to be included in any negotiations. The Tigers rejected both
conditions, saying the GSL was merely avoiding peace talks.
LTTE military spokesperson Rasiah Ilanthirayan countered that
the Norwegians would need to be given access to Kilinochchi
before they would enter into negotiations, saying that the
GSL was trying to "hide its sins" by blocking access to the
Norwegians.

2. (SBU) Norwegian Ambassador Tore Hattrem told Ambassador
that Wijesingha has been talking about including all Tamil
parties for some time and the article was most likely a
reflection of Wijesingha's personal views rather than a
reflection of new GSL policy. Hattrem also reported that he
was not optimistic that he would be able to travel into the
Vanni any time soon, despite receiving a verbal commitment
two weeks ago from Presidential Advisor Basil Rajapaksa to
permit a trip. Hattrem, who arrived in Colombo over 6 months
ago, has not yet been able to travel to the Vanni. The GSL
maintains that security conditions have not allowed it,
although as the LTTE points out, UN expatriate staff have
been operating in the area during this entire period without
any incidents.

3 (SBU) COMMENT: If Wijesinghe's suggestion that the TMVP be
included in talks becomes official policy, it would mark yet
one more obstacle to the resumption of peace talks. However,
with more than half of Sri Lanka's Tamils living outside of
LTTE-controlled areas, the government has a point that the
LTTE is not the sole representative of the Tamil community.
We doubt however that most Tamils would view the TMVP as
legitimate representatives of the broader community's
interests. End Comment.
BLAKE

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