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Global Politics, News, War Crimes, Wikileaks

WikiLeaks: Nambiar Brought Limited Progress, Indian’s Tone Is Much Tougher Than Ever – Blake

By Colombo Telegraph –

“The visit of the UN Secretary General’s Chief of Staff Vijay Nambiar brought limited progress, with some prospect of a working-level UN mission to try to negotiate the release of greater numbers of civilians from the LTTE-controlled ‘safe zone.’”the US Embassy informed Washington.

While it is incumbent on the LTTE to release all civilians and IDPs under their control, the Government of Sri Lanka cannot be oblivious to the evolving human tragedy and the fate of the Tamil civilian population caught up in the so-called No Fire Zone. There is no reason not to continue with the pause in military actions in the NFZ

“UNSYG Chief of Staff Nambiar reported to Co-Chair Ambassadors limited progress with senior Sri Lankan officials on obtaining a lengthier cease fire and time for diplomacy to persuade the LTTE to lay down arms and let civilians go. The President and his brother, Defense Secretary Gothabaya Rajapaksa, opposed any longer pause on the grounds it would only help the LTTE regroup, forcibly recruit more civilians, and train them to fight the Sri Lankan military.” the US Embassy Colombo updated the Secretary of State.

The Colombo Telegraph found the related leaked cable from the WikiLeaks database. The cable was written on April 17, 2009 by the US Ambassador to Colombo, Robert O. Blake.

The US Ambassador wrote “The UN resident coordinator in Colombo reported that secretary general Ban Ki-Moon had discussed Sri Lanka on April 16 with both the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Solana and US Perm Rep Susan Rice. A priest who had been serving the population in the LTTE-control area until two weeks ago briefed us on conditions in the safe zone. He noted that nearly all the civilians in the LTTE-controlled area would leave if they could. He said the LTTE had pushed back an attempt by the Army to penetrate into the safe zone and split it.”

Blake wrote “R. Sampanthan, the leader of the pro-LTTE Tamil National Alliance (TNA) led a delegation of four TNA MPs to Delhi for meetings April 16-17 with Indian National Security Advisor M.K. Narayanan and Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon. A member of the delegation, MP Premachandran, stated: ‘We told the Indian government that the military operations (in Sri Lanka) must be stopped.’ Explaining what the TNA expected from New Delhi, he added, ‘India must tell Sri Lanka that if it cannot protect civilians, then it (India) will have a responsibility to do so.'”

“The Indian High Commission made us aware of the following statement issued in New Delhi by the External Affairs Ministry. (Comment: in tone and substance, much tougher than the comparatively rare statements on the Sri Lankan situation we have seen before. End comment.)” Blake further wrote.

Indian’s wrote; “We had welcomed the announcement by Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse of a cessation of hostilities for the Tamil and Sinhala New Year over the last two days. The Government of Sri Lanka must extend this pause in hostilities to prevent further casualties and enable trapped civilians to leave the area to secure locations. Continuation of precipitate military actions leading to further civilian casualties at this time would be totally unacceptable. While it is incumbent on the LTTE to release all civilians and IDPs under their control, the Government of Sri Lanka cannot be oblivious to the evolving human tragedy and the fate of the Tamil civilian population caught up in the so-called No Fire Zone. There is no reason not to continue with the pause in military actions in the NFZ.”

Read the cable below for Indian’s statement and for further details;

O 171142Z APR 09
FM AMEMBASSY COLOMBO
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9821
INFO AMEMBASSY ATHENS
AMEMBASSY BANGKOK
AMEMBASSY DHAKA
AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD
AMEMBASSY KATHMANDU
AMEMBASSY LONDON
AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI
AMEMBASSY OSLO
AMEMBASSY TOKYO
AMCONSUL CHENNAI
AMCONSUL MUMBAI
AMCONSUL TORONTO
USEU BRUSSELS
USMISSION USUN NEW YORK
USMISSION GENEVA
HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI
DIA WASHINGTON DC
NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
SECDEF WASHDC
CDRUSARPAC FT SHAFTER HI//APCW/APOP//
CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI//J3/J332/J52//
UNCLAS COLOMBO 000432 

SENSITIVE 

STATE FOR SCA (BOUCHER), SCA/INS AND PRM
STATE ALSO PASS USAID
AID/W FOR ANE/SCA, DCHA/FFP (DWORKEN, KSHEIN)
AID/W FOR DCHA/OFDA (MORRISP, ACONVERY, RTHAYER, RKERR)
ATHENS FOR PCARTER
BANGKOK FOR USAID/DCHA/OFDA (WBERGER)
KATHMANDU FOR USAID/DCHA/OFDA AND POL (SBERRY)
GENEVA FOR RMA (NKYLOH, NHILGERT, MPITOTTI)
USUN NEW YORK FOR ECOSOC (D MERCADO)
SECDEF FOR OSD - POLICY
PACOM ALSO FOR J-5 

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREF MOPS PHUM PGOV PREL ASEC CE
SUBJECT: Northern Sri Lanka SitRep 55 

Ref:  A) Colombo 425  B) Colombo 418  C) Colombo 414  D) Colombo 413
 E) Colombo 412  F) Colombo 411  G) Colombo 402  H) Colombo 401  I)
Colombo 400  J) Colombo 396  K) Colombo 393  L) Colombo 384 

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: The visit of the UN Secretary General's Chief of
Staff Vijay Nambiar brought limited progress, with some prospect of
a working-level UN mission to try to negotiate the release of
greater numbers of civilians from the LTTE-controlled "safe zone."
The UN resident coordinator in Colombo reported that secretary
general Ban Ki-Moon had discussed Sri Lanka on April 16 with both
the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Solana and US Perm
Rep Susan Rice.  A priest who had been serving the population in the
LTTE-control area until two weeks ago briefed us on conditions in
the safe zone.  He noted that nearly all the civilians in the
LTTE-controlled area would leave if they could.  He said the LTTE
had pushed back an attempt by the Army to penetrate into the safe
zone and split it.  Over 1000 MT of food are being loaded onto a WFP
ship bound for the safe zone, but it uncertain whether the military
will give permission for medical supplies to be included.  The ICRC
evacuated 462 wounded on April 17; 400 additional wounded are
waiting to be evacuated.   UNHCR reports 63,386 IDPs in camps in
Vavuniya, Mannar and Jaffna.  A delegation of the pro-LTTE Tamil
National Alliance held meetings in Delhi and urged the Indians to
pressure the government to cease military operations.  End summary. 

NAMBIAR VISIT BRINGS LIMITED PROGRESS
------------------------------------- 

2.  (SBU) UNSYG Chief of Staff Nambiar reported to Co-Chair
Ambassadors limited progress with senior Sri Lankan officials on
obtaining a lengthier cease fire and time for diplomacy to persuade
the LTTE to lay down arms and let civilians go.  The President and
his brother, Defense Secretary Gothabaya Rajapaksa, opposed any
longer pause on the grounds it would only help the LTTE regroup,
forcibly recruit more civilians, and train them to fight the Sri
Lankan military.  Foreign Ministry officials took a somewhat more
nuanced position, holding open the possibility of a UN working-level
mission to the safety zone to try to negotiate the release of more
civilians via a seaborne evacuation.  Embassy will report details on
the two meetings septel. 

3.  (SBU) UN resident coordinator Neil Buhne told us that Secretary
General Ban Ki-Moon had written to President Rajapaksa asking that
the pause be extended.  Ban met EU High Representative for Foreign
Affairs Javier Solana and U.S. PermRep Susan Rice separately on
April 16, Buhne noted.  Sri Lanka had figured in both meetings, but
was not the focus.  Buhne added that UN Rapporteur for the Human
Rights of Displaced Persons Walter Kaelin had drafted proposals on
appropriate treatment of the IDs which he will communicate to the
GSL very soon, including points on protection issues and camp
conditions.  Buhne had not yet seen the proposals. 

4. (SBU) Buhne informed us that at least 1000 MT of food were being
loaded today to go to the safe zone.  The intention was that the
ship would also carry medical supplies, but it was not yet certain
that the Sri Lankan Defense Ministry would grant approval.  The ICRC
reported that it evacuated 462 wounded on April 17; 400 additional
wounded are waiting to be evacuated. 

Conditions in Safe Zone
----------------------- 

5. (SBU) A priest who departed the "safe zone" a couple of weeks
ago, and who is in daily contact with his colleagues still there,
briefed us on current conditions inside the LTTE-held area.  His
contacts reported heavy small arms fire in the zone during the 2-day
cease fire on April 13-14.  The priest also reported the SLA had
attempted to push into and split the safe zone on the morning of
April 16 (Ref A) but that the LTTE repelled the attack. 

6. (SBU) The priest explained that with only three villages left
under LTTE control, it is now much more difficult for civilians to
evade detection by the LTTE when attempting to escape than it was
just a few weeks ago.  Civilians are largely staying in bunkers at
this point, because there is a high danger of being shot by either
the LTTE or the SLA if they try to cross over the lines, and high
danger of being forcibly recruited by the LTTE if they emerge for
any other reason.  Sources are now having difficulty getting out
among the population and gathering quality information, including
precise numbers of killed and wounded civilians. 

7.  (SBU) According to the priest, the residents of the safe zone
believe the last big battle will take place there, with the LTTE
mixed in with the civilian population.  The priest reported that in
the last 3-4 months the LTTE have been much harder on the civilians
under their control, and with the result that the civilians had now
turned against the LTTE.  All the civilians in the zone want to get
out, according to the priest, but they know there are no escape
routes open to them.  Multiple sources have confirmed that the LTTE
decides which wounded are evacuated, after doctors make their
recommendations on who needs the most urgent medical attention. 

63,386 IDPs in Government Custody
--------------------------------- 

8. (SBU) UNHCR reports that 63,386 individuals have left
LTTE-controlled territory since October 27, 2008 and are being held
in IDP camps.  The vast majority (57,518) are in 17 different camps
in Vavuniya district, with most of the balance in Jaffna district.
An additional 1,500 individuals who have left LTTE-territory are
undergoing treatment in hospitals in the North and the East. 

TNA in Delhi
------------ 

9. (U) R. Sampanthan, the leader of the pro-LTTE Tamil National
Alliance (TNA) led a delegation of four TNA MPs to Delhi for
meetings April 16-17 with Indian National Security Advisor M.K.
Narayanan and Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon.  A member of the
delegation, MP Premachandran, stated:  "We told the Indian
government that the military operations (in Sri Lanka) must be
stopped."  Explaining what the TNA expected from New Delhi, he
added, "India must tell Sri Lanka that if it cannot protect
civilians, then it (India) will have a responsibility to do so." 

INDIAN EXTERNAL AFFAIRS MINISTRY ISSUES STATEMENT
--------------------------------------------- ---- 

10.  (U) The Indian High Commission made us aware of the following
statement issued in New Delhi by the External Affairs Ministry.
(Comment: in tone and substance, much tougher than the comparatively
rare statements on the Sri Lankan situation we have seen before.
End comment.) 

[begin text] 

India is deeply concerned about the humanitarian situation in Sri
Lanka.  The continuing conflict has taken a heavy toll on Tamil
civilians and internally displaced persons caught in the cross fire.
 The Government of India has repeatedly expressed its concern for
their security and sought to ensure safe passage to secure zones for
the civilian population. 

We had welcomed the announcement by Sri Lankan President Mahinda
Rajapakse of a cessation of hostilities for the Tamil and Sinhala
New Year over the last two days.  The Government of Sri Lanka must
extend this pause in hostilities to prevent further casualties and
enable trapped civilians to leave the area to secure locations.
Continuation of precipitate military actions leading to further
civilian casualties at this time would be totally unacceptable.
While it is incumbent on the LTTE to release all civilians and IDPs
under their control, the Government of Sri Lanka cannot be oblivious
to the evolving human tragedy and the fate of the Tamil civilian
population caught up in the so-called No Fire Zone. There is no
reason not to continue with the pause in military actions in the
NFZ. 

The Government of India have extended humanitarian assistance,
including medicines, food and other supplies, to the civilian
population trapped in the conflict zone.  A 62-member emergency
medical unit from India has treated more than 1500 serious medical
cases among civilians in Pulmoddai in Sri Lanka. We will soon send
another consignment of 40,000 family packs to the affected civilians
in Northern Sri Lanka. 

The Government of India expects the Government of Sri Lanka and
others concerned to respond positively to this appeal in the
interest of the Tamils who are citizens of Sri Lanka. 

[end text] 

Civilian Casualties
------------------- 

11. (U) The pro-LTTE TamilNet website reported 57 civilians killed
and 300 wounded in April 16 fighting.  The website also reported 600
of the 1,500 shells fired by the SLA hit the GSL-designated safe
zone on April 16. (Note: Such reports from TamilNet cannot be
confirmed and are frequently exaggerated.) 

BLAKE
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Discussion

10 thoughts on “WikiLeaks: Nambiar Brought Limited Progress, Indian’s Tone Is Much Tougher Than Ever – Blake

  1. Previously India tried to help the Tamil Tiger terrorists and the ungrateful terrorists paid back with the barbaric murder of PM Rajiv Ghandi.Hence the terrorists met it’s Waterloo.

    Posted by Max Silva | March 12, 2012, 12:43 am
    • Mr Nambiar, on the pretext of answering a call of nature in the Katunayake Airport toilet was discovered in busy telephone conversation with Prabhakaran. Are these the UN envoys whose opinion the Sri Lankan State is expected to heed?

      Posted by Dr U.Pethiyagoda | March 12, 2012, 4:10 am
    • RG wasn’t an angel either; bofors scandals was one of his corruption-filled rule in which he used India as an ATM machine. And his flawed foreign policy of sending IPKF to North-East of SL perhaps put the final nail on his coffin. Whatever verdict he got was rightly deserved.
      Now, mafia-woman – who follows the same legacy as what her husband left, amassing fortune via 2G scams, and some say her estimated black-money in offshore havens would be somewhere between 10B$ and 20B$ – may find the same predicament.

      Posted by bhoor | March 12, 2012, 9:21 pm
  2. Under the pressure exerted by India, President Rajapaksa wanted to extend the cease fire limit, but as the then Army Commander objected to it and then the President Rajapaksa wanted to stop the attack and full out the troops. The then Army Chief refused to do so as they were on a point of no return and any cease fire or stopping the attack will allow the LTTE to re-group its tropes and get new members to fight from civilians. Not for the Army Commanders refusal President Rajapaksa should have stop the war allowing LTTE to have another day to fight, but when we won they claim the victory.

    Posted by Upasiri | March 12, 2012, 1:59 am
  3. India has to admit they are a fail nation. Now it’s the time.

    Posted by Bodinayaka | March 12, 2012, 9:49 pm
  4. India is also complicit in Sri Lanka’s war crimes during the final stages of the war. India had soldiers on the ground in the various war zones. India also provided diplomatic cover for SL at the UN.

    Posted by Devinda Fernando | March 14, 2012, 4:26 pm

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Pingback: WikiLeaks: Nambiar Brought Limited Progress, Indian’s Tone Is Much Tougher Than Ever – Blake « Sri Lanka - March 12, 2012

  2. Pingback: Nambiar Brought Limited Progress, Indian’s Tone Is Much Tougher Than Ever – Blake « UKTamilNews.com - March 12, 2012

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