Cablegate: Colombo-Commissioned Poll Gives High Marks to Usg

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

1. In FY2002 Embassy Colombo commissioned an opinion poll
to assess Sri Lankan public perceptions of USG policies
regarding the peace process. The poll was performed by a
local affiliate of A. G. Nielsen. Its findings were
presented to a country team meeting convened on 10/24.

2. The poll focused on:

- general perceptions of the U.S. and other nations
involved in the peace process

- levels of American involvement in the process

- the current U.S. role in the process

- expectations for the future

3. Findings.

3.1. General perceptions:

- Within both "conflict" (i.e., the North and East) and
"non-conflict" areas, India is perceived as Sri Lanka's
best friend in South Asia.

- Beyond South Asia, the U.S. is perceived in "non-
conflict" areas as Sri Lanka's best friend, Norway by Sri
Lankans living in "conflict" areas.

- The U.S. is seen as "moderately trustworthy" in both
"conflict" and "non-conflict" areas.

- Norway and India excepted, the U.S. has been the most
influential international player in Sri Lanka.

- The U.S. has no significant bias towards any Sri Lankan
ethnic group.

3.2. Levels of U.S. involvement

- For Sri Lankans in both "conflict" and "non-conflict"
areas, the U.S. "gives adequate attention" to Sri Lankan

- "Non-conflict" Sri Lankans perceive the U.S. to be
particularly involved in solving "the ethnic problem
through mediation" and "improv[ing] the economy."
"Conflict" Sri Lankans agree that the U.S. provides
economic assistance, although "providing military ...
assistance to fight the war" is more often cited. "Non-
conflict" Sri Lankans would prefer that the U.S. continue
its mediation efforts; for "conflict" Sri Lankans,
additional economic assistance is a higher priority.

3.3. The USG and the current peace process

- "Conflict" and "non-conflict" Sri Lankans alike believe
that the U.S. has influenced the LTTE to agree to the
cease-fire and has been "involved in the monitoring

- They also give the U.S. high marks for "sincerity" and
"honesty," although "conflict" Sri Lankans wonder about
our "ulterior motives" while in "non-conflict" areas our
national interests are occasionally questioned.

3.4. Expected Involvement in the current peace process

- 67 percent of "conflict" Sri Lankans and 48 percent of
"non-conflict" Sri Lankans expect the U.S. to play a
larger role in facilitating peace.

- In "non-conflict" areas it is hoped that American
facilitation will bring both sides to the negotiating
table, and influence the LTTE to "forego" some of its
"hard demands." "Conflict" area Sri Lankans hope that
the U.S. will "get more involved in the monitoring

- If the peace process succeeds, most Sri Lankans,
particularly in the North and East, hope that the U.S.
will provide economic assistance to the country.

- Were the process to fail, "conflict" area Sri Lankans
would expect the USG to mediate further "between the
government and the LTTE to solve the problem through
peace." "Non-conflict" area Sri Lankans would want the
USG to respond with "military intervention," "military
assistance," and funds to pursue a "full-fledged war
against the LTTE."

4. The A. C. Nielsen presentation received by the country
team on 10/24 has been sent via email to SA/PD. Full texts
of the report are available at Embassy Colombo.


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