Cablegate: Media Play (June 5): Tokyo Conference

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

050951Z Jun 03



Department for D (Gastright), INR/MR, I/RW, I/REC, SA
(Camp, Waller), SA/PD (Brennig, Irwin, Scensny), SSA/PAB,
SSO (pass to D)
Tokyo (Hara, Bryan)

E.O. 12958: N/A

1. Summary. In the run-up to the Tokyo conference, June 5
coverage is apprehensive. Will the LTTE go to Tokyo? Will
the conference, donor contributions, and the peace process
itself be adversely affected if the Tigers aren't there?
Headlines are anxious. Vernacular editorialists are silent
on the issue, but one English daily dilates on a recent
survey suggesting that 86 percent of the Sri Lankan public
supports "a negotiated settlement." So what? "It is
incumbent on everyone," says the editorialist, "to stand up
and be counted. Civic organizations everywhere need to
channel the people's energies ... lest the spoilers of
peace wrest the initiative in moves to charter the future."
End summary.

2. Headlines.

DAILY MIRROR (independent English daily) is pessimistic,
saying "LTTE again rejects PM's plan, but ready for talks"
and "Tigers refuse to budge."

DAILY NEWS (government-owned English daily) quotes a chief
GSL negotiator, G. L. Peiris: "Resumption of direct talks
[is] vital for compromise."

DINAMINA (government-owned Sinhala daily) wants it both
ways. "Donations would not be affected even if LTTE does
not come to Tokyo," it reports, then proceeds to quote "EU
special delegates" as saying: "LTTE participation in
Confab is extremely vital."

LANKADEEPA (independent Sinhala daily) simply reports:
"Prime Minister leaves for Tokyo Conference Tomorrow ...
will lead Sri Lanka Government delegation...."

SUDAR OLI (independent Tamil daily) has Peiris holding a
plum to the north and east: "Aid received at Tokyo
Conference is also for North and East with Tigers'
initiative - Minister G. L. Peiris"

Both THINAKARAN (government-owned Tamil daily) and
THINAKKURAL (independent Tamil daily) have LTTE leader S.
P. Tamilselvan saying that the LTTE is "prepared to go to
Tokyo ... if assurances are given through Norway regarding
Interim Administration...."

And VIRAKESARI (independent Tamil daily) leads with
another, but more enigmatic, statement from Tamilselvan:
"Tigers have not completely rejected participation in the
Tokyo Conference."

3. Editorials

Under the headline "How the people could help out" the
DAILY NEWS (government-owned English daily) commented:


One thing which continues to provide hope for the future is
the substantial public backing for "peace by peaceful
means".... According to the ... latest survey, public
support for a negotiated settlement of the ethnic conflict
stands at an encouraging 86 percent, indicating that the
majority of Lankans is continuing to be solidly behind the
current peace endeavor....

The need ... is great for a profound awakening of the
public conscience, covering North, South, East and West.
It is incumbent on everyone ... to stand up and be counted.
Civic organizations everywhere need to channel the people's
energies for beneficial, purposive change, lest the
spoilers of peace wrest the initiative in moves to charter
the future.

Close excerpts.

4. Radio/Television

Radio and television newscasts report only that a "top-
level delegation" will represent Sri Lanka in Tokyo. As
MTV (independent English telecaster) puts it: "Heading the
top-level delegation will be Prime Minister Ranil
Wickremasinghe. The delegation consists of Finance
Minister Choksy, Economic Reforms Minister Milinda
Moragoda, leader of SLMC Rauf Hakeem, and G. L. Peiris."

5. Web sites
... nothing new.


© Scoop Media

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