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Cablegate: Donors Press Gsl to Focus On Human Rights And

VZCZCXRO4851
RR RUEHLMC
DE RUEHLM #2066/01 3480925
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 140925Z DEC 06
FM AMEMBASSY COLOMBO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4918
INFO RUEHKA/AMEMBASSY DHAKA 9689
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD 6625
RUEHKT/AMEMBASSY KATHMANDU 4685
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 0350
RUEHCG/AMCONSUL CHENNAI 7175
RUEHKP/AMCONSUL KARACHI 2064
RUEHLMC/MILLENNIUM CHALLENGE CORPORATION

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 COLOMBO 002066

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS


DRL/IL FOR LAUREN HOLT, STATE FOR SCA/INS, GENEVA PASS
USTR, ANE BUREAU FOR MARK WARD, MCC FOR S GROFF, D NASSIRY
AND E BURKE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: CE EAID ECON PHUM SOCI
SUBJECT: DONORS PRESS GSL TO FOCUS ON HUMAN RIGHTS AND
HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE IN DEVELOPMENT FORUM


1. Chiefs of Mission of the EU, Norway, Australia, Canada,
Germany (on behalf of the Finnish EU Presidency), and
Switzerland and the DCM met on December 12 to develop a joint
response to the GSL's call to host a development forum in
late January. The forum would provide bilateral and
multilateral donors and the GSL an opportunity to discuss the
larger context of development assistance in Sri Lanka, issues
that affect the environment for development activities, and
the post-tsunami recovery strategy. Attendees debated two
responses to the GSL's call for the meeting: (a) delay the
forum due to increasing hostilities, repeated violations of
the Ceasefire Agreement, and the poor operating environment
for NGOs who carry out development assistance, thereby
signaling the international donor community's disapproval of
current GSL policies or (b) proceed with the forum but insist
that the agenda explicitly address human rights, humanitarian
assistance, and the conflict in the north and east.

2. The German Ambassador, who convened the meeting, noted
that the advance draft of the GSL's ten-year development
plan, on which the forum's discussions would be based, was
severely flawed by its scant treatment of the situation in
the north and east. A draft of the second document, a
two-year report on tsunami reconstruction, that would be
discussed at the forum has not yet been released.

3. The EU, Germany, and Australia voiced support for
delaying the forum, while the U.S. and Canada advocated
moving forward with the event while pushing for changes in
the agenda and possibly the draft documents themselves.
Norway and Switzerland favored variations on these two
approaches. The DCM stressed that the proposed meeting would
provide an opportunity to engage the GSL on the fundamental
issues of human rights, humanitarian assistance, and the need
for a negotiated settlement to the conflict as they relate to
development assistance. It was decided to move ahead with
the event in late January and press for changes in the
agenda. The German Embassy will send a note verbale to
President Rajapaksa welcoming the forum, but requesting that
human rights, humanitarian assistance, and the conflict in
the north and east figure prominently in the proceedings.
The text of the note verbale, currently being circulated in
draft, follows in para 6.

4. In a separate meeting the same day, Treasury Secretary
P.B. Jayasundara briefed representatives of the World Bank,
Asian Development Bank, the Japanese Embassy, the Canadian
High Commission/International Development Agency (CIDA) and
USAID on the proposed development forum. He stressed that
the high degree of importance the GSL attaches to the event
(several ministers will attend and President Rajapaksa may
participate in one or more sessions) and called for
senior-level representation by the multilateral and bilateral
donors. (The Ambassador and USAID director plan to attend.)
He announced that the event is tentatively scheduled to be
held in Galle on January 29-30. Jayasundara, in response to
pointed queries from donor representatives, committed to
giving human rights, humanitarian assistance, and the
conflict in the north and east a prominent place in the
agenda. (Note: This is a positive departure from the GSL
position in July when they would not entertain agenda items
in these key areas. Jayasundara also stated that he and his
staff would engage local government, non-governmental
organizations, donors and trade unions in a consultative
process to get their views on the GSL 10-year plan before the
development forum in January. End Note)

5. We will continue, in coordination with other donors, to
press the GSL to ensure that these issues, which are
essential to a coherent development framework, are fully
incorporated in the agenda for the upcoming forum.

6. Text of note verbale to President Rajapaksa:

The Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany presents it
compliments to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the
Democratic Socialist Republc of Sri Lanka and has the honour
to communicatethe following:

The Embassy of the Federal Republc of Germany requests the

COLOMBO 00002066 002 OF 002


Ministry of Foreign affairs of the Democratic Socialist
Republic of Sri Lanka to submit to the President and Ministry
of Finance the conclusions of a discussion that
was held by the Heads of Mission of Australia, Canada, the
European Commission, Norway, Switzerland, the United States
and Germany representing the European Union Member States.

The above mentioned countries referred to the proposal of
your government to hold a Development Forum in January 2007.
The countries see this as an opportunity for a constructive
and vibrant debate with the government on the development
challenges your country faces and on how development partners
are assisting. We have received one core document on the
Mahinda Chintana Vision 2006-16 and look forward to receiving
the Tsunami Two Years After report shortly.

The countries particularly welcomed the willingness expressed
by the government to propose within the agenda of the
Development Forum a substantial section of the meeting to
discuss three clear and pivotal agenda points that shape
development prospects and cooperation - namely, Humanitarian
Assistance issues including the need for access, Human Rights
issues and the prospects for peace. We wish to underline the
importance of inclusion of these points which will ensure
that our meeting on your development strategy will be
productive and focused.

The Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany avails itself
of this opportunity to renew to the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka the
assurance of its highest consideration.
BLAKE

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