Cablegate: Revised Donor Statement of Principles Re Foreign
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 05 COLOMBO 000657
PASS TO USAID AMBASSADOR WENDY CHAMBERLIN, AA/ANE; GORDON
WEST, DAA/ANE; BERNADETTE BUNDY, ANE
DEPARTMENT FOR D, SA, SA/INS, LONDON FOR POL/RIEDEL
NSC FOR E. MILLARD
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID PREL CE LTTE
SUBJECT: REVISED DONOR STATEMENT OF PRINCIPLES RE FOREIGN
ASSISTANCE TO SRI LANKA
SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED - PROTECT ACCORDINGLY
Ref: Colombo 606
1. (U) This is an ACTION request, please see para. 6.
2. (SBU) Summary: This cable contains the latest draft of
the Donors' statement of principles regarding provision of
foreign assistance to Sri Lanka as the peace process
proceeds. The text has been agreed to (ad referendum) by
all of Sri Lanka's major donors at a meeting at Ambassador
Wills' residence April 15. The meeting produced only minor
revisions to the text agreed the week before and reported in
reftel. The meeting did produce, however, a major change to
the manner in which the statement of principles will be
presented: donors agreed to defer the decision on whether to
make the document public at the June Tokyo Donor Forum. The
donor group will first present the statement privately to
the GSL and LTTE, through the Norwegians, at the seventh
round of peace talks to begin April 29 in Thailand. Based
on the reactions of the GSL and LTTE to the document, the
donor community will decide whether to make the statement
public at Tokyo or not. Insofar as possible, the donors
will keep the document private unless agreed otherwise. The
group also discussed a common press posture, should the
document become public. End Summary.
3. (SBU) The principal donors to Sri Lanka reconvened April
15 at Jefferson House to discuss proposed revisions by
capitals to the text agreed the previous week and reported
reftel. The meeting produced only minor revisions to the
text itself (see para. 7). The most significant revision to
the text was to insert an explicit distinction between
development assistance and humanitarian assistance: the
former would be linked to the statement of principles, but
the latter would not. Most of the afternoon's discussion
focused on how best to present the statement to the GSL and
LTTE, so as not to alienate either party (especially the
LTTE) and thereby upset the peace process. The Japanese
Ambassador had earlier in the day called a meeting of the
four co-chairs of the June Tokyo conference (Japan, US, the
EU and Norway) to discuss how the donor community should
handle the document. The "quartet" decided that it would be
best to make the document a private message to the GSL and
the LTTE from the donor community, rather than make it
public in Tokyo in June (as agreed by the donor group the
previous week). The quartet then presented that
recommendation for consideration by the wider donor
community during the all-hands meeting at Jefferson House.
4. (SBU) Some donors (notably Canada and the Netherlands)
disagreed with the quartet and argued the document would be
effective only as a public declaration by the donor
community; others saw merit in a quieter approach. The
group ultimately reached a consensus to present the
statement of principles privately to the GSL and LTTE,
through the Norwegian facilitators, at the Thailand peace
talks scheduled for April 29. Both parties will then have a
chance to react to the document in subsequent weeks. Based
on the reactions, the donor community will then decide
whether to make the document public at the June Tokyo Donor
Forum (as originally planned). All agreed that it was
likely the document would be leaked at some stage, and
discussed a common press posture should the document become
5. (SBU) The donors agreed to consult capitals on the new
text as well as the new manner of presentation by April 23,
when the group will convene again at Jefferson House.
6. (SBU) Action Request: Request Washington agencies'
comments/concurrence prior to April 23 on the text in para.
7, the proposed manner for presenting the document described
in para. 8, and the "if asked" press guidance in para. 9.
Statement of Principles
7. (SBU) Begin Text:
DRAFT April 15, 2003
Consensus Paper on Basic Principles for Peace and
To ensure sustainable resources for peace and development in
Sri Lanka through a process that links development
assistance to adherence to basic principles. This is not
intended to prescribe but rather to take forward the
dialogue and partnership among GOSL, LTTE and donors, on
2. Background and Rationale
Sri Lanka is in a period of transition, somewhere between
war and peace but not yet definitively `post conflict.'
Progress towards peace and political settlement must be
encouraged and supported by all parties.
This paper highlights basic agreed principles and suggests
milestones that link development assistance to the peace
process. The principles and milestones relate to development
assistance, not humanitarian aid.
Sri Lanka can boast significant progress towards peace. The
ceasefire agreement is one year strong, regular peace
negotiations have demonstrated commitment to address core
issues such as a political settlement, human rights,
humanitarian and rehabilitation assistance and gender.
Development achievements are also noteworthy: SIHRN has
been established and acknowledged by the international
community; NERF is operational; quick impact projects are
being approved; the paper, "Regaining Sri Lanka," along with
a multilateral group-supported assessment for immediate and
medium term rehabilitation needs, will be tabled at a
pledging conference in Tokyo in June 2003.
The peace process and the development process are mutually
reinforcing. There is need, therefore, to develop
mechanisms for ensuring they complement each other.
3. Basic Principles
3.1 Progress on Political settlement
The main message of the Oslo Declaration is that a viable
political settlement should be the desired outcome of the
peace process. Through six rounds of talks, progress and
commitments have been made on substantive issues. At the
Hakone talks, the parties to the negotiation reiterated
their commitment to develop a federal system based on
internal self-determination within a united Sri Lanka. This
consensus paper recognises that this process will take time,
and aims to enhance this positive momentum.
3.2 Respect for human rights and security
Human security is central to the post conflict peace
settlement process. It encompasses freedom for civilians
from pervasive threats, ensures their protection and safety,
and promotes respect for human rights by all parties.
The Hakone peace talks expressed the parties' commitment to
respect and uphold human rights. We encourage expeditious
development and implementation of the human rights roadmap.
There has also been ongoing substantive dialogue between the
LTTE and a coalition of organisations led by UNICEF on child
rights and children affected by war.
Considerable commitments were made during 2002 regarding
land tenure and access issues in conflict-affected areas,
and on the rights of IDPs. These positive initiatives now
require support and implementation. Adoption of the Guiding
Principles on Internal Displacement would support these
3.3 Participation and Representation
The Oslo Declaration and SIHRN's Guiding Principles
underscore the importance of recognising the needs and
aspirations of all ethnic communities as well as actively
involving beneficiaries of development assistance in
planning their own development.
At present, ordinary Sri Lankans need a better understanding
of the peace process. Wider public knowledge and dialogue
on the negotiations would strengthen public support for
Keys to effective engagement with international actors on
development, investment and trade will be establishing
pluralistic, representative government and open, market-
oriented economies in conflict-affected areas. In the latter
connection, the donors call on the parties to adopt economic
policies aimed at reducing poverty and encouraging private
The donors accept that it is for the parties to negotiate
constitutional arrangements with which the country as a
whole will be comfortable. The donors' concern is that the
system must be democratic, transparent and accountable.
There is overwhelming support for a greater degree of
autonomy at local levels, with representative decentralised
local government that is accountable, responsive to local
needs, makes better use of available local resources and
delivers efficient services. While this transition will
take time, developing and strengthening local government
structures expeditiously will help build trust within and
between communities and create an enabling environment for
increased donor support. The Hakone proposal to prepare for
local government elections in the North and East is a
3.5 Transparency and Management of Finances
With additional resources being committed in the conflict-
affected areas, the open and transparent management of these
resources would increase community and donor confidence.
While the guidelines for SIHRN and the NERF are positive
steps, the lack of clarity over systems of revenue
generation, resource distribution and taxation in conflict-
affected areas needs to be resolved. The donors urge the
parties, in the management of public finance and development
assistance, to combat waste, fraud, and all other corrupt
Ultimately, the goal of the peace process will be
reconciliation between and among communities island-wide.
This will require the underlying causes of tensions between
and amongst communities island-wide to be addressed and
reconciled. National frameworks such as that for Relief,
Rehabilitation and Reconciliation (3R) make important
recommendations which address both equity and access
imbalances in Sri Lanka. Issues such as language policy,
education and public sector reform require immediate action,
additional resources and unwavering political commitment.
The success of the framework will depend on the setting of
realistic and achievable milestones. The immediate
-- Full implementation of the ceasefire agreement, including
unrestricted access by the SLMM.
-- Underage recruitment: children no longer subject to
recruitment; progress on the reintegration of current and
former underage recruits into communities
-- Adoption of the "plan" leading to a final political
-- Clarification of the respective roles of central and
local government in the administration of taxation and the
management of public funds.
-- Respect for basic operating principles of international
humanitarian and development assistance agencies.
-- Progress on settlement of land and livelihood issues on
occupied lands, including in the HSZ.
-- Development of structures of governance at the sub-
national level that are representative, transparent and
-- No laying of new mines and increased mine clearance.
As the peace process progresses, there will need to be
dialogue to establish further milestones in emerging areas
such as security and related matters.
Annex 1 contains sample, illustrative milestones in support
of the above principles.
(Note: Donors agreed to label the document "Confidential,"
not to classify the text per se, but to convey the shared
intention to keep the document private. End Note.)
Proposed Manner of Presentation
8. (SBU) As agreed by the donor group, the Norwegians will
present the statement of principles privately to the GSL and
LTTE at the Thailand peace talks scheduled for April 29.
Both parties will then have a chance to react to the
document in subsequent weeks. Based on the reactions, the
donor community will then decide whether to make the
document public at the June Tokyo Donor Forum (as originally
"If asked" Press Guidance
9. (SBU) Consistent with the common press posture agreed by
the donor group, Mission has developed the following "if
asked" press guidance in the event the statement of
principles becomes public.
Question: Is the donor community in Sri Lanka developing
"conditionalities" that link development assistance to
progress in the peace talks?
Answer: Development aid won't work unless conditions on the
ground permit development to occur. Knowing this, the donor
community is moving toward consensus on links between
progress in the peace process and aid for peace.
Question: Why hasn't the donor community shared these
deliberations with the Sri Lankan public?
Answer: We felt it appropriate for the donor community to
take its concerns directly and privately to the GSL and the
LTTE. In turn, it is up to the GSL and the LTTE to
determine whether to make our concerns public.
Question: Why have you kept these discussions from the GSL
and the LTTE?
Answer: It was the donor community's intention to share its
concerns, through the Government of Norway, with the GSL and
the LTTE during the peace talks to be convened in Japan.
Question: What do you mean by "links"?
Answer: Again, this question is for the parties to answer.
Clearly, though, it is fruitless to rebuild schools when
children are still subject to recruitment. Agricultural aid
will lead to prosperity, but not until promises to lay no
new landmines are kept and mine clearance activities are
enhanced. More generally, international and development
assistance agencies cannot hope to work in conflict areas
unless their basic operating principles are respected.