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Cablegate: Country Team Assessment for Uscg 41-

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 000444

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: MASS PREL PGOV PTER CE
SUBJECT: COUNTRY TEAM ASSESSMENT FOR USCG 41-
FOOT UTILITY BOAT

REF: LOR SUBMISSION FOR 41-FOOT UTILITY BOAT

1. THE GOVERNMENT OF SRI LANKA HAS SUBMITTED
REFERENCE (FORWARDED UNDER SEPARATE COVER)
REQUEST FOR EDA TRANSFER OF 41-FOOT US COAST
GUARD UTILITY BOAT. BOTH THE SRI LANKAN NAVY
(SLN) AND SRI LANKAN POLICE - PARAMILITARY
BRANCH, THE SPECIAL TASK FORCE (STF) HAVE
EXPRESSED AN INTEREST IN OBTAINING THIS PLATFORM
FOR MARITIME AND RIVERINE OPERATIONS. THE SLN IS
REQUESTING 4-5 BOATS, THE STF IS INTERESTED IN
OBTAINING 2-3 BOATS.

2. AMEMBASSY COLOMBO STRONGLY SUPPORTS THIS
SALE AND IN ACCORDANCE WITH SECTION 70003 OF THE
SAMM, THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION IS SUBMITTED:

A. SRI LANKA REQUIRES THE 41-FOOT UTILITY
BOAT IN ORDER TO IMPROVE ITS MARITIME AND
RIVERINE SURVEILLANCE AND INTERDICTION
CAPABILITIES. IN PARTICULAR, THE SLN REQUIRES
THIS PLATFORM FOR SEARCH AND INTERDICTION
OPERATIONS WITHIN THE ECONOMIC EXCLUSIVE ZONE
AND IN SUPPORT OF GWOT. THE BOATS WOULD ALSO BE
USED TO PERFORM ROUTINE MAINTENANCE AND SUPPORT
FUNCTIONS CURRENTLY DONE BY COMBAT CAPABLE
VESSELS. THE STF REQUIRES THE UTILITY BOAT FOR
RIVERINE SEARCH OPERATIONS, ESPECIALLY IN THE
EASTERN REGION, WHERE THE SRI LANKAN POLICE
CURRENTLY LACK THE CAPABILITY TO TRACK AND
PURSUE INDIVIDUALS TRAVERSING INTERNAL
WATERWAYS. A US-DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE ASSESSMENT
OF THE SRI LANKAN MILITARY IN SEPTEMBER 2002
REPORTED LIMITED MARITIME SURVEILLANCE AND
INTERDICTION CAPABILITY TO BE THE CENTER OF
GRAVITY IN THE WAR AGAINST THE LTTE. ALTHOUGH A
CEASE-FIRE HAS BEEN IN EFFECT FOR OVER TWO
YEARS, THE LTTE SEA TIGERS CONTINUE TO OPERATE
IN BOTH COASTAL AND INLAND WATERS. GREATER
SURVEILLANCE AND INTERDICTION CAPABILITY ARE
REQUIRED TO ENSURE THAT THE TERMS OF THE CEASE-
FIRE ARE BEING ADHERED TO AND THAT SRI LANKA
REMAINS AT PEACE.

B. THE ADDITION OF 41-FOOT UTILITY BOATS TO
THE SLN FLEET WOULD IMPROVE THE COUNTRY'S
ABILITY TO REACH ITS NATIONAL SECURITY
OBJECTIVES AND DETER POTENTIAL LTTE VIOLATIONS
OF THE CEASE-FIRE AGREEMENT BY INCREASING THE
NUMBER OF SLN HULLS IN THE WATER AND RETURNING
SEVERAL COMBAT CAPABLE BOATS TO THEIR PREFERRED
ROLES. THE ACQUISITION OF THE UTILITY BOAT WOULD
NOT ALTER THE CURRENT FORCE STRUCTURE. IN TERMS
OF THE STF, THE UTILITY BOAT WOULD INCREASE
THEIR EFFECTIVENESS IN PATROLLING INLAND
WATERWAYS AND ASSIST THEM IN MAINTAINING
RIVERINE SECURITY, ESPECIALLY IN THE EASTERN
PROVINCE.

C. NO SIGNIFICANT NEGATIVE REACTION IS
ANTICIPATED FROM SRI LANKA'S NEIGHBOR AS A
RESULT OF THIS SALE. INDIA, SRI LANKA'S CLOSEST
AND MOST STRATEGICALLY IMPORTANT NEIGHBOR, HAS
ASSISTED SRI LANKA AGAINST THE LTTE IN A NUMBER
OF WAYS, INCLUDING ASSISTANCE IN MARITIME
INTERDICTION OPERATIONS. THE ACQUISITION OF A
SYSTEM SUCH AS THE UTILITY BOAT WOULD DECREASE
SRI LANKA'S DEPENDENCE ON INDIAN ASSISTANCE, AND
WOULD LIKELY BE VIEWED POSITIVELY IN NEW DELHI.

D. SINCE THE NAVY ALREADY OPERATES A FLEET OF
SIMILAR SIZED VESSELS, WITH PROPER TRAINING
SAILORS IN THE SLN SHOULD HAVE NO TROUBLE
OPERATING AND MAINTAINING THE UTILITY BOATS, AT
LEAST UP TO AND INCLUDING THE INTERMEDIATE
LEVEL. TRAINING AND SPARES ARE EXPECTED IN THE
INITIAL TRANSFER, SO THE SLN AND STF WOULD
LIKELY TRAIN DEDICATED PERSONNEL TO FOCUS ON
UTILITY BOAT MAINTENANCE.

E. THIS IS AN EDA CASE. MINIMAL COSTS
ASSOCIATED WITH THIS TRANSFER WOULD BE FINANCED
WITH COUNTRY FUNDS. THESE EXPENSES WERE NOT
INCLUDED IN THE ANNUAL DEFENSE PROCUREMENT
BUDGET FOR 2004, HOWEVER, SENIOR OFFICIALS HAVE
INDICATED THAT FUNDING WOULD BE MADE AVAILABLE.
THE OVERALL ECONOMIC IMPACT OF THE TRANSFER ON
THE SRI LANKAN ECONOMY IS INSIGNIFICANT.

F. ALTHOUGH HUMAN RIGHTS CONSIDERATIONS
CONTINUE TO BE A PRIORITY WITH AMEMBASSY
COLOMBO, THE GENERAL LEVEL OF HUMAN RIGHTS
GUARANTEES IS GOOD AND IMPROVING CONTINUOUSLY IN
SRI LANKA. THIS CONSIDERATION SHOULD NOT AFFECT
THE PROPOSED SALE.

G. AMEMBASSY STRONGLY RECOMMENDS THE APPROVAL
OF THIS PROPOSED SALE.

3. POC FOR THIS ACTION IS LTC RICHARD S. GIRVEN,
ARMY AND DEFENSE ATTACHE, USDAO COLOMBO, OR MS.
HEATHER CARTER, MARITIME PROGRAMS SPECIALIST,
USDAO COLOMBO.

LUNSTEAD

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