Colombo Telegraph

WikiLeaks: LTTE’s Understanding Of International Affairs Was “Close To Zero” – Solheim

By Colombo Telegraph

“Minister for International Development Erik Solheim, who was involved in setting up the Nordic Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) in 2002, stated that the LTTE had an understanding of international affairs that was ‘close to zero.’ He further commented that their unfounded hope for some sort of external salvation, either through pressure from the Diaspora community or other international intervention, combined with a leader surrounded by yes-men, led to the ‘shocking’ and disastrous decision by the LTTE to finish the war as a conventional fighting force. The Norwegian government was in contact with the political leadership of the LTTE until the end of the conflict, but after 2006, only by telephone.” the US Embassy Oslo informed Washington.

Erik Solheim

A Leaked “CONFIDENTIAL” US diplomatic cable, dated August 24, 20o9, recounts the details of a meeting the US ambassador to Oslo Clint Williamson has had with Norwegian peace envoy Erik Solheim. The Colombo Telegraph found the related leaked cable from the WikiLeaks database which is written by acting Deputy Chief of Mission Cherrie Daniels.

Cherrie Daniels wrote “Information of particular interest to Ambassador Williamson was the GON’s communications with senior LTTE that took place on May 17 and 18 just prior to the conclusion of the conflict. Solheim explained that the MFA had a series of phone conversations with LTTE political and military leaders who wanted to surrender to Red Cross or United Nations representatives. The Norwegians advised them that no Red Cross or UN representatives were in the area and that their only option at that point was to raise the white flag and surrender directly to the Sri Lankan army. The next day, all those persons were dead, and the Norwegians said that the circumstances under which they died remain unknown and implicitly suspicious. At the same time, Solheim and his staff noted that during their conversations with LTTE leaders on May 17 and 18, gunfire could be heard, and their interlocutors admitted shot were being fired by both sides. The fact that they may have tried to surrender under these circumstances further muddies whether or not this incident could be considered an IHL violation. More generally, the Norwegians found the wholesale slaughter of LTTE forces in the last days of the conflict to be highly suspicious, as ‘it is most likely that at least some LTTE forces tried to surrender.'”

Related cable;  WikiLeaks: US – GON Talks On Sri Lanka’s War Crimes


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