Cablegate: Sixth Tokyo Core and Expanded Group Meeting Of

Published: Wed 30 Apr 2003 01:42 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
APRIL 28, 2003
1. SUMMARY: GSL and multilaterals assess the Washington
Seminar a success. Planning for the Tokyo Donor's
Conference continues as scheduled. The Colombo pre-Tokyo
Seminar has been postponed. GSL, multilateral and
Bilateral donors have mixed views and strategies regarding
the LTTE suspension from the talks. GSL and multilaterals
ask for immediate pledges to the NERF to assuage the LTTE.
The Japanese have changed the agenda for Tokyo to
accommodate US concerns. END SUMMARY.
2. Minister Moragoda chaired the meeting. He indicated
that the GSL decided to go ahead with preparations for the
Tokyo Conference but would remain flexible in keeping the
door open for the LTTE. Moragoda said that playing with
the schedules given the high-level representation
anticipated at the meeting was not an appropriate way to
proceed. The Colombo Seminar was put off and may be
rescheduled for later in May. Moragoda said that the GSL
realized that there were high-risk elements to this
strategy and that the current situation was a test of
Government resolve. The GSL was sincere in trying to
address the issues raised by the LTTE and hoped that the
LTTE suspension was not tactical or simply grandstanding.
3. Minister Moragoda thanked donors for their governments'
attendance at the Washington meeting, which he
characterized as successful in laying the foundation for
Tokyo. Concerns were expressed that the press coverage
had given the impression that Washington was a pledging
conference, and this was misunderstood by the LTTE.
Moragoda reiterated that the GSL was resolute about the
Tokyo meeting and indicated that the current situation was
a test of the commitment to the process. He hoped that
the LTTE's concerns were focused on substantive issues.
4. The Japanese Ambassador said that although the GOJ
considered LTTE participation essential, Tokyo was
standing firm and resolute for the June conference date.
He was encouraged by the sincerity of the GSL's efforts to
bring the LTTE back to the table. He indicated that the
current and former Norwegian Ambassadors would be going to
see Thamilselvan in Kilinochchi on April 30 to ask the
LTTE to reconsider its suspension of the talks and its
participation in the Tokyo conference. As previously
scheduled, Mr. Akashi is due in Sri Lanka from May 3 to
May 9. Meetings for him are planned with the PM,
President, GL Peiris, international organizations and like-
minded Ambassadors.
5. The time schedule for preparation of the Tokyo
documentation remains the same. The three documents to be
shared with donors include Regaining Sri Lanka, the needs
assessment document and a "bridging document" that has not
yet been drafted. The Japanese Ambassador said that the
draft Tokyo Conference agenda remains the same except for
the addition of a coffee break after the final plenary.
Since the final plenary included remarks by the LTTE, the
break would enable the USG to make final remarks along
with the other co-chairs without the LTTE at the head
6. On the topic of LTTE sensibilities, Minister Moragoda
indicated that the LTTE's perception right along has been
that the GSL is using the peace process to secure funding
for the South. The GSL's intent has been neither to
humiliate nor corner the LTTE. The situation has now
reached a critical stage. The PM will be responding
directly to Balasingham's letter. Bernard Gunathilake
will be explaining to Thamilselvan the immediate steps
that were being taken by the GSL to address the LTTE's
concerns. Austin Fernando has developed a plan for the re-
relocation of division headquarters in Jaffna. The GSL
and LTTE view the high security zones differently. While
the GSL views them both as a security issue and a
humanitarian assistance issue, the LTTE thinks that this
is just an humanitarian issue (related to IDPs). The GSL
suggested for discussion the issues beyond the high
security zones that were expected to be raised in the next
round of peace talks in Thailand. Moragoda emphasized
that the GSL was making efforts to try to restart the
talks within a certain framework -- not just on the LTTE's
terms. The agenda must address issues of importance to
both sides, such as federalism.
7. There was considerable discussion about the LTTE's
understanding of economic issues. Ambassador Wills
queried the multilaterals as to the level of
sophistication of the LTTE on these issues. Minister
Moragoda said that there needed to be an Economics 101
discussion with the LTTE but he didn't know the venue for
such a talk. The group was hopeful that Balasingham's
press response to Ambassador Wills' newspaper interview
regarding open markets was a positive trend in the LTTE's
8. A number of Core Group members reported out on the NGO
workshop on the peace process that was convened by the
Center for Policy Alternatives last weekend. The
discussions workshop focused on such issues as the
perceived lack of consultation on Regaining Sri Lanka,
insufficient attention to human rights issues in the peace
talks, the need for benchmarks in the peace process, the
heavy emphasis of the role of the private sector in the
Needs Assessment and the feasibility of the NERF funding
mechanism. The World Bank representative said that finding
a representative group from civil society was a challenge
in Sri Lanka but a more systematic consultation process
was needed to address some of the ongoing concerns such as
those raised at the NGO workshop.
9. The Wider Group meeting was held immediately following
the Core Group and was basically a summary of the prior
meeting. The major and heated topic of discussion was
pledging to the NERF since a number of donors in the Wider
Group had pledged to fund through this mechanism in Oslo.
Minister Moragoda and the multilaterals indicated that the
LTTE does not perceive that the WB's, ADB's or bilateral
funds going to the North and East as "its" and can not
claim them for political advantage. It wants funds in the
NERF approved by SIRHN because the Tigers can claim that
they got these funds because of the struggle. Moragoda
stated that the GSL was putting part of the debt relief
provided by the Netherlands into the NERF and part of it
into activities in the South. There were differing
opinions from donors about putting funds into the NERF
under the current situation. The GSL, World Bank, ADB and
UN were all encouraging donors to put funds in now as a
show of good faith. The Italian Ambassador in his role as
EU political representative suggested that perhaps this
was a time not to follow the rules too closely. The head
of UNHCR said that people needed to see more activity on
the ground regardless of how. The LTTE had been empowered
to decide where and what type of projects would be
implemented in the North and East. The Netherlands, Swiss
and Sweden all expressed reservations about putting funds
in the NERF under these circumstances. (Note: the UK is
under the greatest pressure to commit to the NERF now
since had been ready to pledge $15 million prior to the
suspension of the peace talks but are reluctant to do so.)
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