Cablegate: Counterterrorism Action Group (Ctag) Meeting

Published: Fri 6 Feb 2004 06:07 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
SUBJECT: Counterterrorism Action Group (CTAG) meeting
for Sri Lanka/Maldives
Refs: (A) Colombo - SA/INS 02/06/2004 fax
- (B) State 14279
1. (U) This message is Sensitive but Unclassified --
Please handle accordingly.
2. (SBU) SUMMARY: Mission hosted a local-level CTAG
meeting on February 5. Mission representatives briefed
the group on USG efforts, and representatives of the
other G-8 embassies and Australia and Switzerland also
briefed on their efforts. The group agreed on the
importance of needs assessment of GSL capabilities and
continued information-sharing. END SUMMARY.
3. (U) Per Ref B, Mission hosted a Counterterrorism
Action Group (CTAG) meeting for Sri Lanka and the
Maldives on February 5. The meeting was well-attended
by representatives of local G-8 embassies plus Australia
and Switzerland. DAO, RSO, and Polchief represented the
4. (SBU) Utilizing Ref B points, Polchief reviewed the
purpose of the meeting, relating that the U.S. had taken
over as Chair of CTAG on January 1 and would be hosting
a capital-level meeting of CTAG members on February 20
in Washington. Polchief noted that additional capital-
level CTAG meetings would be taking place in 2004 and
that Mission would be calling additional local CTAG
meetings later in the year.
5. (SBU) Turning to the specifics of USG
counterterrorism engagement with Sri Lanka, RSO reviewed
past State Department Anti-Terrorism Training (ATA)
programs with the Sri Lankan government (GSL) and future
plans. RSO noted that an area of increased focus would
be community policing. DAO then reviewed Department of
Defense counterterrorism programs with the Sri Lankan
military. DAO related that these programs included
individual and unit training, access to military
professional schools, and funded participation in U.S.
and multilateral conferences and seminars throughout the
South Asia region. Since September 11, 2001, these
programs had focused specifically on terrorism and
counterterrorism (CT), and all of them had CT or
regional security as a major program element. As part
of their presentations, RSO and DAO distributed handouts
detailing State ATA and DoD programs and plans
(see Ref A).
6. (SBU) Meeting participants then went around the
table reviewing the extent of their government's
counterterrorism engagement with Sri Lanka. Comments
included the following:
-- Australia: The Australian DCM said her government
was not providing any CT assistance to the GSL. Most of
the GoA's assistance was focused on East Asia, SE Asia,
and the Pacific region, not South Asia. Australia
wanted to engage more regarding Sri Lanka, however.
-- Canada: The Canadian Consular Chief said his
government was not providing any direct CT assistance to
the GSL. Via the Commonwealth Organization, however,
Canada was assisting in some anti-terrorism financing
training programs, which Sri Lankans had participated
in. Canada was also concerned with immigration issues,
which it saw as linked with counterterrorism concerns.
-- European Union: No direct assistance had been
provided or was planned for the GSL.
-- France: French Embassy Conoff indicated that his
country provided some police training. The GoF was very
concerned about immigration issues.
-- Germany: No direct assistance had been provided or
was planned for the GSL.
-- Italy: No direct assistance had been provided or was
planned for the GSL. The GoI was very concerned about
immigration issues, however.
-- Japan: The Japanese Embassy representative related
that the GoJ was committed to helping build the GSL's
capacity to combat terrorism. He related that the GoJ
had invited small numbers of GSL personnel to export
control, immigration, law enforcement, etc., workshops
and planned to continue to do so.
-- Russia: The Russian DCM noted that the GoR had
signed an anti-terrorism agreement with the GSL at the
foreign ministerial-level in April 2001. The two
countries also had an agreement (also signed in April
2001) regarding practical CT cooperation, including
training and technical support (this accord was between
the FSB and the Sri Lankan police). The Russian DCM
remarked that the GSL had never requested CT assistance
and none had yet been provided by the GoR.
-- Switzerland: No direct assistance had been provided
or was planned for the GSL.
-- United Kingdom: The British Embassy Poloff said HMG
had held various CT seminars in which Sri Lankans had
participated. The Embassy was also involved in police
reform issues and might assign an adviser to Sri Lankan
police headquarters.
(Note: Other than the U.S. side, none of the other
countries represented at the meeting provided handouts.)
7. (SBU) After the presentations concluded,
participants engaged in a brief give-and-take regarding
CT issues. The Italian DCM stressed that the Maldives
was also an area of CT concern for his country given its
large tourism industry. Participants agreed to focus
more on the Maldives in future discussions. The French
Embassy representative noted that airport security was
also a concern for his government. The Russian DCM
wondered whether GSL representatives should be invited
to future meetings. He also wondered whether there
should be publicity. Polchief noted that the U.S.
Embassy was not planning to publicize the meetings. RSO
remarked that perhaps GSL representatives could come to
future meetings that dealt with discrete CT subjects.
RSO also emphasized the importance of needs assessments
and continued information-sharing; participants agreed
that these were key priorities. Polchief closed the
meeting by underscoring that the U.S. Embassy would be
in touch concerning future local-level CTAG meetings and
thanked participants for their attendance on short
8. (U) Minimize considered.
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