Search

 

Cablegate: Media Play - Secretary Powell's Letters To

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 000013

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR INR/MR, I/RW, I/REC; PA
SA/INS (CAMP, DEAN, WALLER); SA/PD (REINCKENS, SCENSNY,
STRYKER); SSA/PAS

E.O.12958:N/A
TAGS: KPAO OPRC KMDR OIIP PREL CE LTTE
SUBJECT: MEDIA PLAY - SECRETARY POWELL'S LETTERS TO
PRESIDENT AND PRIME MINISTER CREATE MEDIA SPLASH OVER THE
WEEKEND

1. Summary. Secretary Powell's letters to Prime Minister
Wickremesinghe and President Kumaratunga were front page
news over the weekend. English and vernacular headlines
implied that the Secretary was critical of the President;
one English weekly reported, "End political infighting CBK
told - Powell writes to CBK, Ranil." The Tamil press
concentrated on the President's alleged negative reaction to
Powell's letters. Editorial reaction focused on
international involvement in Sri Lanka's political scene and
was generally positive. One Tamil editorialist interpreted
the Secretary's letters as evidence of "international
pressure against the actions of the President which disrupt
the peace process," while one English daily's editorial was
more general, "...let us be humble enough in the interest of
our own future and welcome with open arms international
mediation from countries like [the] USA, India and UK..."
Sinhala newspaper editorialists were silent. End Summary.

-----
Headlines
-----

2. Headlines about Secretary of State Colin Powell's
letters to Prime Minister Wickremesinghe and President
Kumaratunga were splashed across English and vernacular
weekend newspapers. Independent English weekly, SUNDAY
LEADER led with (1/4), "End political infighting CBK told -
Powell writes to CBK, Ranil." Independent English weekly,
SUNDAY ISLAND elaborated (1/4), "Powell writes to both
leaders, India too working 'overtime' - US mounts further
pressure on CBK and Ranil to resolve political crisis."
Independent Sinhala weekly, SUNDAY LANKADEEPA headlined
(1/4),"Settle internal clashes if you want peace and aid, US
State Secretary tells President, PM in writing," while
independent Sinhala daily, DIVAINA's 1/5 headline reported,
"America urges immediate union of Chandrika and Ranil in
order to solve crisis in Sri Lanka." Independent English
weekly, SUNDAY TIMES was more evenhanded: "US urges
President, PM to settle differences," and independent Tamil
weekly, SUNDAY THINAKKURAL's headline was tamer still (1/4):
"Letters from Collin Powell to the President and the Prime
Minister."

3. On January 5, the Tamil press concentrated on the
President's allegedly negative reaction to Powell's letters
(as reported septel, in fact the President was not negative
in her discussions with the Ambassador after he handed over
the Secretary's letter). Independent Tamil daily,
THINAKKURAL reported (1/5), "The President is not likely to
pay attention to US interference," while independent Tamil
daily, VIRAKESARI elucidated (1/5), "The President is
unhappy with the US. warning."

-----
Editorials
-----
4. Editorial reaction focused on international involvement
in Sri Lanka's political scene and was generally positive.
One Tamil editorialist interpreted the Secretary's letters
as evidence of "international pressure against the actions
of the President which disrupt the peace process," while one
English daily's editorial was more general, "...let us be
humble enough in the interest of our own future and welcome
with open arms international mediation from countries like
[the] USA, India and UK..." Sinhala newspaper editorialists
were silent.

-- Under the headline (1/5), "American pressure for peace,"
independent Tamil daily THINAKKURAL approvingly commented,
"While the pressure put forward by the US clearly shows the
US interest in solving the ethnic problem it can be
considered as pressure representing the international
community."

Editorial excerpts.

The President is aware that the peace process cannot move
even an inch forward the without the joint effort of both
main political parties. But she goes her own way. Prime
Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe, even with a parliamentary
majority, cannot do anything to go forward. The observers
have come to a conclusion that the ways of both these
leaders cannot be changed. America has stated its stand
regarding the political crisis between the President and the
Prime Minister. US Secretary of State Colin Powell has
written separate letters to both leaders. While the pressure
put forward by the US clearly shows the US interest in
solving the ethnic problem it can be considered as pressure
representing the international community.

End excerpts.

-- Under the headline (1/5), "International pressure against
Chandrika," pro-LTTE Tamil daily SUDAR OLI, referring to
Secretary Powell's letter to President Kumaratunga,

SIPDIS
commented, "It is also understood that the letter to the
President has made it clear that the political crisis should
not affect the peace process. This shows the international
pressure against the actions of the President which disrupt
the peace process."

Editorial excerpts.

It is two months since the President took over the three
ministries, which brought uncertainty into the peace
process. The two forces, one under the President and the
other under the LTTE, honoring the ceasefire during this
period is great. The President's take over of the Defense
Ministry that endangered the environment for peace has come
under heavy condemnation of the international community. The
US Deputy Secretary of State had expressed his views that
the political crisis created in Colombo, while the Prime
Minister was away in the US, has affected the peace process.
It is understood that the US Secretary of State Collin
Powell has sent separate letters to the President and the
Prime Minister on Friday through the US Ambassador in
Colombo urging both leaders to resume peace efforts,
assuring its support for peace. It is also understood that
the letter to the President has made it clear that the
political crisis should not affect the peace process. This
shows the international pressure against the actions of the
President which disrupt the peace process.

End excerpts.

--Under the headline, "Welcome international mediation,"
independent English DAILY MIRROR commented, "...let us be
humble enough in the interest of our own future and welcome
with open arms international mediation from countries like
[the] USA, India and UK..."

Editorial excerpts.
It is not that we are asking our leaders to cow down to the
dictates of Washington or any other country in arriving at a
just settlement.... let us be humble enough in the interest
of our own future and welcome with open arms international
mediation from countries like [the] USA, India and UK, who
all have either historic, regional or worldly interest in
bringing about a permanent settlement here as they are
certain to do a much better job in strengthening democratic
institutions in this country for the benefit of all its
citizens.

End excerpts.

LUNSTEAD

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Syria: Economic Decline, Rising Hunger And Surging Humanitarian Needs

Syria’s fragile economy has “suffered multiple shocks” over the past 18 months, with its currency plummeting and joblessness swelling as people struggle to cover their basic needs, the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator told the Security Council ... More>>

OECD: Final Quarter Of 2020 Shows Continued Recovery In G20 International Merchandise Trade

G20 international merchandise trade continued to rebound in the fourth quarter of 2020 ( exports up 7.2% and imports up 6.8%), following the sharp falls seen in the first half of 2020, as lockdown measures affected trade globally. Although growth ... More>>

UN Report: Civilian Casualties Surged After Peace Talks Began In Afghanistan

Monitoring by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, UNAMA, and the UN Human Rights Office has revealed that despite a drop in civilians killed and injured overall in 2020 there was a rise in civilian casualties following the start of peace negotiations ... More>>

Focus On: UN SDGs


2021: Critical Year To ‘reset Our Relationship With Nature’ – UN Chief

During this time of “crisis and fragility”, the UN chief told the United Nations Environment Assembly on Monday that human well-being and prosperity can be vastly improved by prioritizing nature-based solutions. Painting a picture of the turmoil ... More>>


Paris Agreement: UN Secretary-General António Guterres To Mark U.S. Reentry With Envoy For Climate John Kerry

Watch live at webtv.un.org UN Secretary-General António Guterres will join U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John F. Kerry at an event marking the United States’ reentry into the Paris Agreement this Friday. The discussion with the Secretary-General ... More>>

WeBeliev: Scoop In Conversation With Abhishek Sinha, Founder Of WeBeliev, An NZ Crowdfunding Platform

WeBeliev supports 17 SDGs, launching sector specific campaigns every month Q. What is WeBeliev and why did you start it? A. WeBeliev is a Singapore-registered crowdfunding platform aimed at fundraising for all the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) ... More>>