Cablegate: Observations From Sri Lanka/Maldives Delegates

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.




E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: STATE 189710

1. (U) From September 8 to September 13, AmEmbassy Colombo
Assistant Regional Security Officer, Philippe Furstenberg,
accompanied delegations from Sri Lanka and Maldives to
Washington, D.C. for an ATA counter-terrorism legislation
seminar. Per reftel request the following observations were
provided by members of the delegation to the A/RSO both
during and after the seminar:

2. (U) Both delegations noted the importance of conducting
the CT seminar in a regional context. Many conversations
between delegations during coffee breaks and over lunch
resulted in relationships developed among regional

3. (U) With very little exception, both delegations felt the
CT seminar was extremely valuable and worthwhile. It became
apparent that the five participating countries differed
greatly in their state of legislative drafting. Sri Lanka
was among the countries with the most comprehensive
counter-terrorism laws. This is in large part due to the
20-year war Sri Lanka has been engaged in against an
FTO-listed terrorist group. The Maldives, on the other hand,
does not even have a formal criminal code and needs further
assistance developing the legal framework for countering

4. (U) Nonetheless, much of the conversation within both the
Sri Lankan and Maldivian delegations centered around
enforcement assistance. There was widespread belief that
assistance with creation of immigration and criminal
databases to track known and potential terrorists would be of
great value. Further integration of this database with
regional partners would be of additional import.

5. (U) Sri Lanka and the Maldives noted their lack of
sophistication in attacking money laundering. A
comprehensive law is in the final stages of development in
both countries, but the issue of enforcement is clearly a
weak point. Sri Lanka and the Maldives request assistance
with creation and training of Financial Investigation Units

6. (U) Sri Lanka further emphasized its wish to conclude a
Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) with the United States.

7. (U) Since the seminar, the US Embassy in Sri Lanka has
already taken action to assist the Maldives and Sri Lanka in
their counter-terrorism efforts:

8. (U) On September 30, 2002 the USG and the Attorney General
of the Maldives signed a grant proposal in which the USG will
provide two slots to the Maldives Law Commission to attend
the Tulane University Legislative Drafting course in New
Orleans. This proposal was crafted in part due to the
immediate feedback given to the U.S. Embassy regarding the
ATA course. Conversations with one delegate from the
Maldives and member of the Law Commission noted that several
important CT laws have been preliminarily drafted and await
refinement by the law commission. This includes a securities
act, a telecommunications act, a customs act and a civil
aviation act. The proposal for FY ,03 will assist in
reducing the back log and tightening the Maldives
counter-terrorism posture.

9. (U) In addition, a State Department-funded Sri Lanka
Police management and organization proposal (principally
geared at counter-narcotics) has been more than doubled. An
expected $400,000 will be spent in FY ,03 to improve the
Police,s ability to track crime and share criminal

10. (U) Both the Maldives and Sri Lanka appreciate any USG
assistance that can be provided. Whether through the
extremely successful ATA program, INL or any other source,
both countries could use assistance with enforcement training
and legislative drafting.

11. (U) The seminar was a good beginning that we look forward
to capitalizing on.

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