25 September, 2020

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WikiLeaks: Prime Minister Mahinda Described President Chandrika As “Very Confident”

By Colombo Telegraph

“In a September 15 meeting with the Ambassador, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse described President Chandrika Kumaratunga as “very confident” that she can soon restart talks with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). He offered several reasons for this assessment.” the US Embassy Colombo informed Washington.

Mahinda and Chandrika

A Leaked ‘Confidential’ US diplomatic cable, dated September 15, 2004, updated the Secretary of State regarding and a  meeting Ambassador  Jeffrey J. Lunstead had with the President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The Colombo Telegraph found the related leaked cable from the WikiLeaks database. The cable is signed by the US Ambassador to Colombo Jeffrey J. Lunstead.

The ambassador wrote ; ” The LTTE seems to have stopped raising the March defection of Karuna, its Eastern military commander, as a purported obstacle to resumed negotiations, Rajapakse said. In addition, the GSL has formulated a proposal for a multipartisan Advisory Council on the peace process (Ref A). Finally, even the Janatha Vimukti Peramuna (JVP), the left-wing nationalist coalition partner that has been most vocal in criticizing the LTTE’s proposal for an interim admiinistration, has now said it is ready to discuss it, he noted. The PM thinks the JVP’s apparent turnaround is the result of a pragmatic political calculus, rather than a fundamental change of heart. It is too early for the JVP to break ranks with the government, Rajapakse said; the party will remain a coalition partner at least until local council elections in April 2006, he predicted. Moreover, the pro-LTTE Tamil National Alliance (TNA), with its 22 seats in Parliament, has pledged to support the government if talks resume, he added.”

“For now, the President has shelved her proposal for a constituent assembly to abolish the executive presidency, Rajapakse indicated. Instead, the government is formulating a comprehensive package of proposed constitutional changes–including an interim arrangement for the north and east–instead of “doing it piece by piece,” the PM said. If talks resume, the government and LTTE could reach a negotiated settlement within one year, he predicted confidently.” Lunstead further wrote.

Read the relevant part of the cable below;

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 COLOMBO 001526 

SIPDIS 

STATE FOR SA/INS 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/13/2014
TAGS: PGOV PTER PREL CE LTTE
SUBJECT: SRI LANKA:  AMBASSADOR DISCUSSES PEACE PROCESS
WITH PRIME MINISTER, PEACE SECRETARIAT 

REF: A. COLOMBO 1521
     ¶B. COLOMBO 1510
     ¶C. COLOMBO 1362 

Classified By: AMB. JEFFREY J. LUNSTEAD.  REASON:  1.4 (B,D).
-------------------
PM POSITIVE;
JVP CAN'T JUMP YET
------------------- 

¶2.  (C)  In a September 15 meeting with the Ambassador, Prime
Minister Mahinda Rajapakse described President Chandrika
Kumaratunga as "very confident" that she can soon restart
talks with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).  He
offered several reasons for this assessment.  The LTTE seems
to have stopped raising the March defection of Karuna, its
Eastern military commander, as a purported obstacle to
resumed negotiations, Rajapakse said.  In addition, the GSL
has formulated a proposal for a multipartisan Advisory
Council on the peace process (Ref A).  Finally, even the
Janatha Vimukti Peramuna (JVP), the left-wing nationalist
coalition partner that has been most vocal in criticizing the
LTTE's proposal for an interim admiinistration, has now said
it is ready to discuss it, he noted.  The PM thinks the JVP's
apparent turnaround is the result of a pragmatic political
calculus, rather than a fundamental change of heart.  It is
too early for the JVP to break ranks with the government,
Rajapakse said; the party will remain a coalition partner at
least until local council elections in April 2006, he
predicted.  Moreover, the pro-LTTE Tamil National Alliance
(TNA), with its 22 seats in Parliament, has pledged to
support the government if talks resume, he added. 

¶3.  (C)  For now, the President has shelved her proposal for
a constituent assembly to abolish the executive presidency,
Rajapakse indicated.  Instead, the government is formulating
a comprehensive package of proposed constitutional
changes--including an interim arrangement for the north and
east--instead of "doing it piece by piece," the PM said.  If
talks resume, the government and LTTE could reach a
negotiated settlement within one year, he predicted
confidently.
LUNSTEAD
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    Why is CT carrying this outdated old hat now?

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