Colombo Telegraph

WikiLeaks: Mahinda, The Right Leader To Make Progress On A Solution To Ethnic Problem – US

“PDAS Steven Mann, accompanied by Ambassador and Pol Chief, met Defense Secretary Gothabaya Rajapaksa on March 8. Gothabaya, noting that an overwhelming majority of Sinhalese Buddhists had voted for Mahinda Rajapaksa in 2005, told us that his brother’s popularity among the majority community was still strong. However, Sri Lanka’s system of proportional representation in Parliament meant that the President’s party would never secure an absolute majority on its own. This, he explained, had made it necessary to create such a big cabinet to satisfy everyone. Mann responded that the President’s considerable political skills and his strong support made him the right leader to make progress on a solution to Sri Lanka’s ethnic problem. The U.S. hoped that the new power-sharing proposals that emerge form the current consultation process would be of a quality that hadn’t been seen before.” the US Embassy Colombo informed Washington.

Mahinda Rajapaksa

The Colombo Telegraph found the related leaked cable from the WikiLeaks database. The cable is classified as “Confidential” and recounts a meeting the US Embassy had with the Secretary to the Ministry of Difence Gotabhaya Rajapaksa. The cable was written on March 14, 2007 by the US Ambassador to Colombo Robert O. Blake.

“Defense Secretary Gothabaya Rajapaksa told visiting SCA PDAS Steven Mann that the government was certain that the LTTE was not interested in a political solution to Sri Lanka’s ethnic conflict. Nevertheless, he said, the government would try to reach out to the Tamil populations, bypassing the LTTE leadership. The security forces were finding it difficult to choke off LTTE resupply of arms and ammunition, but would redouble its efforts. Security forces would seek to consolidate their hold on the East by drviing the LTTE out of its remaining base in Thoppigala, then replace troops in the cities with police and Special Task Force units. He said the Karuna group was not a partner of the government in military operations, but that he saw no problem with the Karuna faction transforming itself into a mainstream political party. The government would try to push the LTTE back in the Vavuniya sector in order to control LTTE infiltration and secure the overland route to Mannar. Then it would press the LTTE to retrun to the negotiating table.” the US Embassy further wrote.

We give below the relevant part of the cable;

VZCZCXRO4586
OO RUEHBI RUEHLMC
DE RUEHLM #0416/01 0730542
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 140542Z MAR 07
FM AMEMBASSY COLOMBO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5651
INFO RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN PRIORITY 0275
RUEHKA/AMEMBASSY DHAKA PRIORITY 9963
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD PRIORITY 6932
RUEHKT/AMEMBASSY KATHMANDU PRIORITY 5009
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 3603
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI PRIORITY 0747
RUEHNY/AMEMBASSY OSLO PRIORITY 3690
RUEHOT/AMEMBASSY OTTAWA PRIORITY 1012
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO PRIORITY 2770
RUEHCG/AMCONSUL CHENNAI PRIORITY 7505
RUEHBI/AMCONSUL MUMBAI PRIORITY 5209
RUEHON/AMCONSUL TORONTO PRIORITY 0137
RUEHLMC/MILLENNIUM CHALLENGE CORPORATION PRIORITY
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA PRIORITY 1888
RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI PRIORITY
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 COLOMBO 000416 

SIPDIS 

SIPDIS 

DEPARTMENT FOR SCA/INS AND SCA/RA
MCC FOR S GROFF, D NASSIRY, E BURKE AND F REID 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/13/2017
TAGS: PTER PGOV MOPS PREL CE
SUBJECT: SRI LANKA: DEFENSE SECRETARY OUTLINES SIX-MONTH
MILITARY STRATEGY 

Classified By: AMBASSADOR ROBERT O. BLAKE, JR.  REASONS: 1.4 (B, D) 

¶1.  (C) SUMMARY: Defense Secretary Gothabaya Rajapaksa told
visiting SCA PDAS Steven Mann that the government was certain
that the LTTE was not interested in a political solution to
Sri Lanka's ethnic conflict.  Nevertheless, he said, the
government would try to reach out to the Tamil populations,
bypassing the LTTE leadership.  The security forces were
finding it difficult to choke off LTTE resupply of arms and
ammunition, but would redouble its efforts.  Security forces
would seek to consolidate their hold on the East by drviing
the LTTE out of its remaining base in Thoppigala, then
replace troops in the cities with police and Special Task
Force units.  He said the Karuna group was not a partner of
the government in military operations, but that he saw no
problem with the Karuna faction transforming itself into a
mainstream political party.  The government would try to push
the LTTE back in the Vavuniya sector in order to control LTTE
infiltration and secure the overland route to Mannar.  Then
it would press the LTTE to retrun to the negotiating table.
End summary. 

¶2.  (C) PDAS Steven Mann, accompanied by Ambassador and Pol
Chief, met Defense Secretary Gothabaya Rajapaksa on March 8.
Gothabaya, noting that an overwhelming majority of Sinhalese
Buddhists had voted for Mahinda Rajapaksa in 2005, told us
that his brother's popularity among the majority community
was still strong.  However, Sri Lanka's system of
proportional representation in Parliament meant that the
President's party would never secure an absolute majority on
its own.  This, he explained, had made it necessary to create
such a big cabinet to satisfy everyone.  Mann responded that
the President's considerable political skills and his strong
support made him the right leader to make progress on a
solution to Sri Lanka's ethnic problem.  The U.S. hoped that
the new power-sharing proposals that emerge form the current
consultation process would be of a quality that hadn't been
seen before.
BLAKE

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