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Cablegate: Sri Lanka Denies Negotiations to Procure Lethal

VZCZCXRO5475
OO RUEHAG RUEHROV RUEHSL
DE RUEHLM #0968 2940758
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 210758Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY COLOMBO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0648
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S E C R E T COLOMBO 000968
SIPDIS

DEPARTMENTS FOR ISN/CATR. EAP/K AND SCA/INS
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/08/2019
TAGS: PGOV PREL PREF PHUM PTER EAID MOPS CE
SUBJECT: SRI LANKA DENIES NEGOTIATIONS TO PROCURE LETHAL
MILITARY EQUIPMENT FROM IRAN
REF: A. SECSTATE 46946
B. COLOMBO 710
Classified By: AMBASSADOR PATRICIA A. BUTENIS. REASONS: 1.4 (B, D)

1. (S) In a much-delayed response to our Ref A demarche on
possible Sri Lankan procurement of lethal military equipment
from North Korea and Iran, Sri Lankan Ministry of Foreign
Affairs (MFA) Director General (DG) Americas Division
Kshenuka Senewiratne on October 16 said they appreciated U.S.
concerns and stated that the GSL seriously considered the
information. According to Senewiratne, there was no evidence
backing the information we earlier provided in our demarche.
According to the DG, to stop speculation regarding possible
procurements of arms and ammunition from Iran, the GSL
conducted internal investigations and had found no records
that supported the allegations. DG stressed that the GSL
abided by the UN Security Council resolutions and ensured
that all guidelines were met. DG reiterated that post war,
the GSL did not envisage a need for additional military
hardware and hinted that the U.S. was receiving such
information from sources that sought to sour U.S.-Sri Lanka
relations. DG made no comments on procurements or
negotiations of lethal military equipment from North Korea.

2. (S) Comment: Notwithstanding the DG,s vehement denial of
GSL procurements and negotiations from Iran, the GSL,s
recent interactions with Iranian military officials raise
questions. At an October 6th meeting with SL,s Army
Commander, the Iranian Defense Attach Brigadier Asghary
Nekah discussed an upcoming military delegation led by
Iranian Army Brigadier Mahnoud Amini Ranjabar that suggested
future strengthening of the Iranian-Sri Lanka military
relationship. In a meeting with PolOff, the Japanese Defense
Advisor discussed his deep concerns of possible talks of
purchases and negotiations of arms and nuclear technology
during the upcoming Iranian visit.

BUTENIS

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