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Cablegate: Official Informal Number 044 (03/19/04)

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

UNCLAS COLOMBO 000486

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

OFFICIAL INFORMAL

FOR SA/INS

E.O. 12958: DECL: N/A
TAGS: AMGT CE MV
SUBJECT: OFFICIAL INFORMAL NUMBER 044 (03/19/04)

Sensitive but unclassified - protect accordingly.

CONTENTS: PRESIDENT ABOLISHES 13 NON-CABINET MINISTRIES
TORKEL PATTERSON
BCIS SEMINAR
VISA RECIPROCITY


PRESIDENT ABOLISHES NON-CABINET MINISTRIES
------------------------------------------

1. (SBU) FYI. On March 17, President Kumaratunga
abolished 13 non-Cabinet ministries by gazette
notification and amalgamated their functions into
Cabinet-level ministries. Two other ministries were
also merged with Cabinet-level ministries. The 13
ministries that were abolished -- (Irrigation, Land
Registration and Tourism Development, to give a
sampling) -- were set up by PM Wickremesinghe's UNP
government. This move brings the total number of non-
cabinet level ministries down to 14 (there are about 30
Cabinet-level ministries). In abolishing the
ministries, a press release from the Presidential
Secretariat stated that the reason was to reduce

SIPDIS
administrative and maintenance costs. In a political
sense, the move is transparently part of President
Kumaratunga's and her SLFP/JVP alliance's drive to make
themselves the "Mr. Clean" of Sri Lankan politics and
make the UNP seem corrupt. (POL)

TORKEL PATTERSON
----------------

2. (SBU) We've got a good schedule for Torkel
Patterson's Sunday-Monday visit, although several key
interlocutors are, as we expected, unavailable due to
campaign obligations. (DCM)

BCIS SEMINAR
------------

3. (U) FYI - the Ambassador spoke this morning at the
Bandaranaike Center for International Studies (BCIS)
seminar on "The Role of the United States in South
Asia." Key speakers in the two-day seminar include Rick
Inderfurth and Peter Burleigh. DCM and Teresa Manlowe
will be "respondents" on two of the panels tomorrow.
(DCM)

VISA RECIPROCITY
----------------

4. (SBU) Our consul, Marc Williams, has been talking
informally with MFA here about perhaps opening up a bit
on visa reciprocity. MFA has asked us to come over for
a meeting next Thursday. DCM and Marc will attend and
apprise CA/VO afterwards about what might be feasible
(Marc has been in regular touch with VO on the issue).
(DCM)

LUNSTEAD

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