Cablegate: Final Donor Statement of Principles Re Foreign

Published: Thu 24 Apr 2003 09:41 AM
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
E.O. 12958: N/A
Ref: (A) Colombo 606
- (B) Colombo 657
- (C) Colombo 688
1. (U) This is an ACTION request, please see para.7.
2. (U) This message is Sensitive but Unclassified. --
Please handle accordingly.
3. (SBU) SUMMARY: This cable contains the final draft
of the donors statement of principles regarding
provision of foreign assistance to Sri Lanka as the
peace process proceeds. This text has been agreed to
(ad referendum) by all of Sri Lanka's major donors at a
meeting at Ambassador Wills' residence April 23. The
meeting produced relatively minor changes to the text
drafted the week before and reported in Reftels. The
meeting addressed the manner in which the statement of
principles will be presented. In light of the Tigers'
April 21 announcement withdrawing from the next round of
talks and the Tokyo conference, donors agreed to defer
the decision about how to present the statement to the
negotiating parties until the status of peace talks is
resolved. The donors would look for advice from the
Norwegians as to the timing of the release. Ambassador
Wills suggested a meeting of the donors after the talks
reconvene to reassess the situation. The group also
discussed a common press posture, should the document
become public. END SUMMARY.
4. (SBU) The principal donors to Sri Lanka reconvened
April 23 at Jefferson House to discuss proposed
revisions by capitals to the text agreed to the previous
week and reported in Ref (B). The meeting produced minor
revisions to the text itself (see Para.7). The most
significant revision to the text was a reordering and
modification of the priorities contained in the last
section of the paper and the annex. Where priority
milestones in the text were repeated in the annex, they
have been removed from the annex. (NOTE: The annex
cannot be sent in cable form and will follow by fax).
Much of the afternoon's discussion centered on what to
do with the paper following the announcement by the LTTE
on April 21 to suspend peace talks (Ref C). Ambassador
Wills proposed waiting until the resumption of talks,
and to look for advice from the Norwegians as to the
timing of the release to both parties. The Japanese
Ambassador concurred, calling for the co-chairs of the
June Tokyo conference to review the situation, and
reformulate their strategy with the Norwegians and the
group of donors. He stressed Tokyo's desire to keep the
document confidential. All the donors agreed that it
was likely that the document would be leaked, and
discussed a common press posture should the document
become public.
5. (SBU) One specific change was the on the U.S.-
proposed language concerning child soldiers in the
"Reconciliation" section near the end of the paper. The
donors modified the language proposed by L concerning
international law; the bullet point now reads "Underage
recruitment: complete halt to recruitment of
individuals under age 18; progress on the reintegration
and provision of education and training to current and
former underage recruits." The other donors felt L's
language was too legalistic- imagine that! ?d thus out
of keeping with the tone of that section otherwise. We
trust Washington will concur with the new language.
6. (SBU) The donors agreed to consult capitals on the
new text as well as guidance on distribution, with
Ambassador Wills calling for a meeting once peace
negotiations resume.
7. (SBU) ACTION REQUEST: Request Washington agencies'
comments/concurrence on the text in para 7.
Statement of Principles
8. (SBU) Following is the revised statement of
principles as agreed upon during the April 22 meeting.
Begin Text:
DRAFT April 23, 2003
Basic Principles for Peace and Development
1. Purpose
To ensure sustainable resources for peace and
development in Sri Lanka through a process that links
development assistance to adherence to basic principles.
This is not intended to prescribe but rather to take
forward the dialogue and partnership among GOSL, LTTE
and donors, on shared concerns.
2. Background and Rationale
Sri Lanka is in a period of transition, somewhere
between war and peace but not yet definitively 'post
conflict.' Progress towards peace and political
settlement must be encouraged and supported by all
This paper highlights basic agreed principles and
suggests milestones that link development assistance to
the peace process. The milestones relate to development
assistance, not humanitarian aid.
Sri Lanka can boast significant progress towards peace.
The ceasefire agreement has held for more than one year,
regular peace negotiations have demonstrated commitment
to address core issues such as a political settlement,
human rights, humanitarian and rehabilitation assistance
and gender. Development achievements are also
noteworthy: SIHRN has been established and acknowledged
by the international community; NERF is operational;
quick impact projects are being approved; the paper,
"Regaining Sri Lanka," along with a multilateral group-
supported assessment for immediate and medium term
rehabilitation needs, will be tabled at a pledging
conference in Tokyo in June 2003.
The peace process and the development process are
mutually reinforcing. There is need, therefore, to
develop procedures for ensuring they complement each
3. Basic Principles
3.1 Progress on Political settlement
The main message of the Oslo Declaration is that a
viable political settlement should be the desired
outcome of the peace process. Through six rounds of
talks, progress and commitments have been made on
substantive issues. At the Hakone talks, the parties to
the negotiation reiterated their commitment to develop a
federal system based on internal self-determination
within a united Sri Lanka. This paper recognises that
this process will take time, and aims to enhance this
positive momentum.
3.2 Respect for human rights and security
Human security is central to the post conflict peace
settlement process. It encompasses freedom for
civilians from pervasive threats, ensures their
protection and safety, and promotes respect for human
rights by all parties.
The Hakone peace talks expressed the parties' commitment
to respect and uphold human rights. We encourage
expeditious development and implementation of the human
rights roadmap. There has also been ongoing substantive
dialogue between the LTTE and a coalition of
organisations led by UNICEF on child rights and children
affected by war.
Considerable commitments were made during 2002 regarding
land tenure and access issues in conflict-affected
areas, and on the rights of IDPs. These positive
initiatives now require support and implementation.
Adoption of the UN Guiding Principles on Internal
Displacement would support these initiatives.
3.3 Participation and Representation
The Oslo Declaration and SIHRN's Guiding Principles
underscore the importance of recognising the needs and
aspirations of all ethnic communities as well as
actively involving beneficiaries of development
assistance in planning their own development.
At present, ordinary Sri Lankans need a better
understanding of the peace process. Wider public
knowledge and dialogue on the negotiations would
strengthen public support for peace.
Keys to effective engagement with international actors
on development, investment and trade will be
establishing pluralistic, representative government and
open, market-oriented economies in conflict-affected
areas. In the latter connection, the donors call on the
parties to adopt economic policies aimed at reducing
poverty and encouraging private sector activity.
3.4 Democracy
The donors accept that it is for the parties to
negotiate constitutional arrangements with which the
country as a whole will be comfortable. The donors'
concern is that the system must be democratic,
transparent and accountable.
There is overwhelming support for a greater degree of
autonomy at local levels, with representative
decentralised local government that is accountable,
responsive to local needs, makes better use of available
local resources and delivers efficient services.
While this transition will take time, developing and
strengthening local government structures expeditiously
will help build trust within and between communities and
create an enabling environment for increased donor
support. The Hakone proposal to prepare for local
government elections in the North and East is a welcome
3.5 Transparency and Management of Finances
With additional resources being committed in the
conflict-affected areas, the open and transparent
management of these resources would increase community
and donor confidence. While the guidelines for SIHRN
and the NERF are positive steps, the lack of clarity
over systems of revenue generation, resource
distribution and taxation in conflict-affected areas
needs to be resolved. The donors urge the parties, in
the management of public finance and development
assistance, to combat waste, fraud, and all other
corrupt practices.
4. Reconciliation
Ultimately, the goal of the peace process will be
reconciliation between and among communities island-
wide. This will require the underlying causes of
tensions between and amongst communities island-wide to
be addressed and reconciled. National frameworks such
as that for Relief, Rehabilitation and Reconciliation
(3R) make important recommendations which address both
equity and access imbalances in Sri Lanka. Issues such
as language policy, education and public sector reform
require immediate action, additional resources and
unwavering political commitment.
5. Milestones
The success of the framework will depend on the setting
of realistic and achievable milestones. The immediate
priorities include:
-- Full implementation and strengthening of the
ceasefire agreement, including unrestricted access by
the SLMM.
-- Adoption of the "plan" leading to a final political
-- Clarification of the respective roles of central and
local government in the administration of taxation and
the management of public funds.
-- Development of structures of governance at the
devolved level that are representative, transparent and
-- Underage recruitment: complete halt to recruitment of
individuals under age 18; progress on the reintegration
and provision of education and training to current and
former underage recruits.
-- Respect for basic operating principles of
international humanitarian and development assistance
-- Progress on settlement of land and livelihood issues
on occupied lands, including in the HSZ.
-- No laying of new mines and increased mine clearance.
As the peace process progresses, there will need to be
dialogue to establish further milestones in emerging
areas such as security and related matters.
Annex 1 contains sample, illustrative milestones in
support of the above principles.
End Text.
9. (U) Minimize considered.
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