Cablegate: Media Play: U.S. "Notes with Concern" Ltte Camp,
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 COLOMBO 001408
DEPARTMENT FOR INR/MR, I/RW, I/REC; PA
SA/INS (CAMP, WALLER), SA/PD (SCHWARTZ, SCENSNY)
TAGS: KPAO OPRC KMDR OIIP CE LTTE
SUBJECT: MEDIA PLAY: U.S. "NOTES WITH CONCERN" LTTE CAMP,
1. On 8/7 Colombo issued a press release reiterating the
8/6 Washington File article, "U.S. Looks Forward to
Resumption of Sri Lankan Peace Talks ... State's Reeker
says U.S. concerned about rebel activity." The statement
said that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) is
"undermining confidence in the peace process" and that the
USG was "look[ing] forward to a timely resumption of peace
2. The release received immediate and enormous coverage.
On 8/7 Sri Lanka's FM stations aired it during their
regular headline newscasts, and most TV stations included
the story in the noon and evening news shows. On 8/8 and
into the weekend the story was front-page news in all
English and many vernacular dailies. For example:
- DAILY MIRROR (independent English daily): "U.S. puts
pressure on Tigers."
- DAILY NEWS (government-owned English daily): "Raps Tamil
Tigers over assassinations: U.S. urges LTTE to resume
- DINAMINA (government-owned Sinhala daily): "America
accuses: Tigers damage the peace process."
- ISLAND (independent English daily): "U.S. concerned over
LTTE camp in Kinniya, killings."
- LAKBIMA (independent Sinhala daily): "Stop political
assassinations immediately ... work as per MOU, U.S. orders
- LANKADEEPA (independent Sinhala daily): "Tiger
activities damaged the peace process ... a strong
allegation from America ... strong protest against the
tiger camp and assassinations."
- SUNDAY LAKBIMA (independent Sinhala weekender): "Remove
Manirasakulam camp, says America."
- SUDAR OLI (pro-LTTE Tamil daily): "America is worried
about Tiger camp in Trincomalee District."
- THINAKARAN (government-owned Tamil daily): "Tigers
should honor the ceasefire."
3. Meanwhile editorial quarreled with each other. The
English and Sinhala press said that the U.S. had thrown
"paper tomahawks" at an LTTE that deserves heavier
firepower, while the Tamil press complained that "unwanted
foreign" intervention like this "will not help solve the
problem amicably." Excerpts follow:
- "Firing paper Tomahawks at terrorists." ISLAND
(independent English daily) 8/7:
"... what kind of impact will such statements really have
on the LTTE by way of making the outfit desist from
violence and compromise its intransigence, which has
resulted in all peace processes so far coming a cropper?
For a terror group which is still active and raising funds
in the U.S. soil despite proscription in that country and
continues to hold the peace process to ransom here, such
press releases will be nothing more than paper Tomahawks.
"The efforts being made by the U.S. and others fighting shy
of applying sufficient pressure on the terrorists to goad
them into resuming talks smack of some misplaced thinking
that a man eater could be tamed with a cane. This attitude
has helped LTTE not only evade the crusade against global
terrorism simply by entering a peace process but also
achieve what it may not have dreamt of winning through
fighting. Today thanks to the peace process it has its
cadres running a parallel administration in the government-
held areas under the pretext of doing 'political work';
arms are being brought in with ease; and million of rupees
are being raised daily - from the A-9 alone, about Rs. 2
billion is collected annually - for its war chest.
"If the LTTE is to be made to give up terrorism and resume
talks as the U.S. wants, it is not exhortation but coercion
that is called for. Will the guardians of the peace
process rise to the occasion?"
- "Tigers should eliminate stubbornness." SUNDAY
LANDADEEPA (independent Sinhala weekender) 8/10:
"Reeker's statement ... is a great eye opener for the
Tigers; the U.S. is paying close attention to the LTTE's
mulish behavior ... while the terrorists openly violate ...
the MOU. The MOU allowed the Tigers to engage in
democratic politics in GSL controlled areas by entering
these zones unarmed. But the Tigers came armed into these
areas, killed their political opponents, abducted
government officers, and killed several military
persons.... Now comes the Manirasakulam camp. The SLMM
said that the camp was a violation of the MOU, but the
Tigers just don't care....
"The whole world understands that Tiger behavior does not
build confidence. Strangely, only the Tigers fail to
"If the peace talks are to be concluded successfully, the
Tigers must do away with their unruly behavior ... not only
in word but in deed. It is the duty of the whole
international community -- and not only of the U.S. -- to
open the eyes of Tigers....
- "America and Kurangupanchan." SUDAR OLI MAGAZINE (pro-
LTTE Tamil weekender) 8/10:
"The Kurangupanchan Camp issue is heating up again.
"LTTE political wing leader S. P. Tamilselvan ... said that
the LTTE would not give up the Kurangupanchan Camp because
it is situated in forests within the LTTE-controlled area.
It was expected that the problem would end there, but now
America is poking its nose in it.
"... U.S. State Department spokesman Philip Reeker has
raised the issue, saying that LTTE actions regarding the
said camp would hinder the peace efforts.
"There is no doubt that many western countries, including
America, are eager to get the LTTE back to the peace talks.
But these countries fail to understand why the LTTE has
temporarily pulled out of talks. They are partial toward
the government; they fail to put pressure on the
"It is evident that such countries express the views of the
government when they make statements regarding Sri Lankan
"The LTTE has already has displayed its displeasure
regarding the amount of interest shown by unwanted foreign
forces regarding the ethnic problem in Sri Lanka. American
intervention will not help solve the problem amicably.
- "Solution possible only if international community ...
leaves aside its ulterior motives." SUNDAY VIRAKESARI
(Independent Tamil weekly) 8/10:
"The international community should help achieve a
respectable permanent solution for the Tamils by bringing
the government and the opposition parties together.
"If they intervene in this country's problem with their
ulterior motives in mind, it cannot be expected that peace
"The U.S. State Department has said that the actions of the
LTTE have allowed to loose faith in the peace efforts.
"LTTE boats were destroyed many times on land and sea. LTTE
cadres were attacked. The LTTE was silent over those
attacks. They did not want to retaliate.
"Now Tamil political observers want to know whether the
U.S. State Department did not know that attacks by the Sri
Lankan navy would disturb the peace process?".
"It is evident ... that America is very much concerned
about ... the camp in Kurangupanchankulam.
"The LTTE has clearly stated that the camp is situated in
an area under their control and would not be removed.
"We are unsure whether the statement of the U.S. State
Department comes as a threat to the LTTE to remove their
camp, but issuing statements of this nature ... is not
going to bring peace to this country.
"... better to apply pressure on the government and the
President to grant the Interim Administrative Council....
The time has come for the international community to leave
aside their ulterior motives and work with a clean heart
for peace in this country."