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Cablegate: Media Play Subject: Media Play (June 6): Tokyo

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

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 COLOMBO 000979

SIPDIS


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

E.O. 12356: N/A
TAGS: KPAO OPRC KMDR OIIP CE LTTE
SUBJECT: MEDIA PLAY Subject: Media Play (June 6): Tokyo
conference; Colombo.

1. Summary. As the Tokyo conference approaches, the media
scene grows dyspeptic. "Ways to solve [the] dispute ... can
be found," the Prime Minister is reported to argue, but
others speak of racists, i.e., Sinhalese nationalists, who
want the LTTE to miss Tokyo, while voices closer to the LTTE
blame the impasse on the GSL. An editorial in the LTTE-
leaning SUDAR OLI is even more brutal and an article in the
LTTE's web site says that the "political bankruptcy of the
Sri Lankan state in solving the ethnic conflict never stood
so well exposed." End summary.

-----
2. Headlines
-----

In the moments prior to his departure for Tokyo Prime
Minister Wickremasinghe spoke pro-peace once again. His
comments resonate in the English and vernacular press. The
DAILY MIRROR (independent English daily) says "PM insists no
more war" and "fervent plea for world community to help
build peace process in Sri Lanka." The ISLAND (independent
but nationalist-leaning English daily) agrees: "Ways to
solve dispute over interim admin. can be found - PM."
THINAKKURAL (independent Tamil daily) quotes the PM as
seeing "not much of difference between the government and
LTTE regarding the Interim Administrative Council." And
VIRAKESARI (independent Tamil daily) weighs in with
"International countries are interested in peace efforts, no
chance for talking of war again - Tokyo Conference a great
support for the peace efforts - Prime Minister Ranil
Wickremasinghe."

Unfortunately, the PM's cheerleading is accompanied by
catcalls. DIVAINA (independent but nationalist-leaning
Sinhala daily) reports simply that "Tigers say NO...."
DINAMINA (government-owned Sinhala daily) says that "Racists
[i.e., Sinhalese nationalists) are in favor of LTTE's
absence at the Confab." And SUDAR OLI (independent but LTTE-
leaning Tamil daily) has LTTE leader S. P. Tamilselvan
blaming the impasse on the GSL: "The Sri Lankan government
should take responsibility for non-participation of Tigers
at the Tokyo Conference, Tamilselvan informs UNHCR
Official."

-----
3. Editorials
-----

Under the headline "Tokyo conference and Liberation Tigers"
SUDAR OLI (independent but LTTE-leaning Tamil daily) blames
the GSL for creating the impasse by rejecting an interim
administration that would "give the Tigers more muscle." It
may be true, SUDAR OLI says, that "the Tigers could have
bargained for more aid had they attended the Tokyo
Conference. But if there is no proper structure to utilize
the funds received -- however much is received -- what is
the use?

Block quotes.

The Tokyo Conference attended by Donor Countries will be
held in two days and the chances of Tiger participation ...
are very remote. Anton Balasingham's reply to Prime
Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe and the recent statement made
by Tamilselvan to British, Dutch, and Swiss diplomats show
that the chances of Tiger participation at the conference
are very remote.

There wouldn't be a problem if the government would
establish an Interim Administrative Council that would give
the Tigers more muscle to pursue reconstruction,
resettlement, and rehabilitation in the north and east. ...
to bring normality back to the peninsula. Then the Tigers
would attend the Tokyo Conference, and the peace talks too,
would resume.

But the government is not ready to establish an Interim
Administration. Anton Balasingham has pointed out that the
Councils in the government's proposals will be powerless,
like SIHRN is, and are unacceptable. Tamilselvan has also
informed the diplomats who visited Vanni to pressurize the
Tigers to attend the Tokyo Conference, that the
International Community should pressurize the government to
accept the Interim Administration Structure proposed by the
Tigers.

Tamilselvan said that the Diplomats agreed with his
grievances but were unsure whether they would insist that
the government establish the Interim Administration
structure.
It is true that the Tigers could have bargained for more aid
had they attended the Tokyo Conference. But if there is no
proper structure to utilize the funds received -- however
much is received -- what is the use?

And where is the assurance that the government won't use the
full amount, as in the past, on the development of the
South.

The Government thinks that aid Tiger participation would
increase aid, but is not interested in giving the north and
east its rightful share.

By insisting on the Interim Administration, the Tigers have
passed the ball into Government's court. Is there a way
out?

End block quotes.

-----
4. Web sites
-----

Under the headline "Political confusion in Colombo said
undermining peace" the LTTE's TAMILNET castigates "the
political bankruptcy of the Sri Lankan State." Quoting a
Tamil National Alliance MP, Selvam Adaikalanathan, TAMILNET
says:

Block quote.

"It would be absolutely imprudent on our part to predicate
the future of the Tamil people on the unpredictable
political climate we are witnessing in Colombo now. It is
getting progressively unstable. A politically powerful
section of the Sinhala Buddhist clergy asserts that
President Kumaratunga wowed during a meeting with its
leaders that she would divide the Northeast province. The
political bankruptcy of the Sri Lankan state in solving the
ethnic conflict never stood so well exposed," said Mr.
Selvam Adaikalanathan, MP, a senior leader of the Tamil
National Alliance.

End block quote.


Wills

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