22 October, 2020

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

By Colombo Telegraph – 

“Norwegian government officials shared interesting insights into the motivations of the parties to the conflict as well as developments since its end. However they had no specific evidence of atrocities beyond what has been already been shared with the USG. The two NGOs however, did provide useful information from contacts on the ground who communicated with their offices via satellite phone.” the US Embassy Oslo informed Washington.

Ambassador Williamson

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, a variety of high level Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials, and two NGOs. 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 “Before meeting with Minister Solheim, Ambassador Williamson first discussed specific legal and political concerns of the GON with Martin Sorby of the MFA Legal Department in relation to any information which may be shared at later meetings. Williamson began by recognizing Norway’s unique role as a mediator in Sri Lanka in recent years. He stated that any information provided by the GON would not be attributed to senior officials by name, and that if desired the Legal Department could see any quotes attributed to GON officials in advance of the report’s release.”

“At the beginning of all meetings Ambassador Williamson first outlined the language attached to the 2009 Supplemental requiring the Secretary to report to the Appropriations Committees within 45 days on alleged violations of international humanitarian law (IHL) during the recent fighting in Sri Lanka and to the extent possible, identify perpetrators. The Ambassador explained that the USG had limited access to the conflict zone and therefore it will be extremely difficult to present conclusive evidence of what happened and who was responsible.To develop the most complete picture possible, the Department was collecting reports from open sources, NGOs, International Organizations, and foreign governments. Looking at the two sides in the conflict, Sri Lankan military and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), Williamson said that reporting thus far had focused on alleged use of civilians as human shields and conscription of child soldiers by the LTTE. For the GSL, most allegations centered on the potential disproportionate use of force and reports of disappearances of individuals during the screening of the population in the north.” the acting Deputy Chief of Mission further wrote.

Read the relevant parts of the cable;

VZCZCXYZ0001

PP RUEHWEB DE RUEHNY #0533/01 2430835ZNY CCCCC ZZH P 310835Z AUG 09 FM AMEMBASSY OSLO TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7743 INFO RUEHLM/AMEMBASSY COLOMBO PRIORITY 0375 RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI PRIORITY 0449

C O N F I D E N T I A L OSLO 000533

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/31/2019 TAGS: PREL[External Political Relations], PHUM [Human Rights], SL [Sierra Leone], NO [Norway]

SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR WILLIAMSON MEETS WITH GON AND NGOS ON SRI LANKA

Classified By: Acting Deputy Chief of Mission Cherrie Daniels for reaso ns 1.4(b) and (d)

¶1. (C) Summary: In a productive series of meetings on August 24 in Oslo, S/WCI Ambassador Clint Williamson met with Minister for International Development Erik Solheim, a variety of high level Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) officials, and two NGOs to discuss the recent conflict in Sri Lanka, specifically in relation to a Congressional reporting requirement in recent supplemental funding legislation. Norwegian government officials shared interesting insights into the motivations of the parties to the conflict as well as developments since its end. However they had no specific evidence of atrocities beyond what has been already been shared with the USG. The two NGOs however, did provide useful information from contacts on the ground who communicated with their offices via satellite phone. End Summary. LEGAL PARAMETERS ——————

¶2. (C) Before meeting with Minister Solheim, Ambassador Williamson first discussed specific legal and political concerns of the GON with Martin Sorby of the MFA Legal Department in relation to any information which may be shared at later meetings. Williamson began by recognizing Norway’s unique role as a mediator in Sri Lanka in recent years. He stated that any information provided by the GON would not be attributed to senior officials by name, and that if desired the Legal Department could see any quotes attributed to GON officials in advance of the report’s release.

PREFACE TO ALL MEETINGS ————————

¶3.(SBU) At the beginning of all meetings Ambassador Williamson first outlined the language attached to the 2009 Supplemental requiring the Secretary to report to the Appropriations Committees within 45 days on alleged violations of international humanitarian law (IHL) during the recent fighting in Sri Lanka and to the extent possible, identify perpetrators. The Ambassador explained that the USG had limited access to the conflict zone and therefore it will be extremely difficult to present conclusive evidence of what happened and who was responsible. To develop the most complete picture possible, the Department was collecting reports from open sources, NGOs, International Organizations, and foreign governments. Looking at the two sides in the conflict, Sri Lankan military and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), Williamson said that reporting thus far had focused on alleged use of civilians as human shields and conscription of child soldiers by the LTTE. For the GSL, most allegations centered on the potential disproportionate use of force and reports of disappearances of individuals during the screening of the population in the north.

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Latest comments

  • 0
    0

    Gentlemen, Great you guys worry so much about the final stage of a 30 year long conflict in Sri Lanka. Please keep digging. Never know, you might find something. Now, during your spare time please focus on what happened in Iraq, Afganistan and Libya as well. And soon perhaps in Syria. Good luck and best regards.

    • 0
      0

      ‘Death toll in Sinhala War Against Tamils in Sri Lanka HIGHER than Bosnia, Syria’

      The war against the LTTE, waged by the Mahinda Rajapakse government, may have restored peace in Sri Lanka. But thousands of Tamils paid the price for the so-called victory with their lives, journalist Frances Harrison tells Vicky Nanjappa.

      The annihilating battle against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, waged by the Mahinda Rajapakse government, may have ultimately restored peace in Sri Lanka. But thousands of Tamils have paid the price for this so-called victory with their lives, journalist Frances Harrison reports in her new book Still Counting the Dead.

      ‘Caught in the crossfire were hundreds of thousands of schoolchildren, doctors, farmers, fishermen, nuns and other civilians. And the government ensured through a strict media blackout that the world was unaware of their suffering,’ Harrison states in her book.

      Harrison, a veteran BBC correspondent who has reported from South Asia, South East Asia and Iran, was the resident BBC correspondent in Sri Lanka between 2000 and 2004.

      She has worked at Amnesty International as Head of News and while writing this book, served as a visiting research fellow at Oxford University.

      • 0
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        Viyasan

        It is not rocket science that people lose their lives in wars. This is all the more reason why wars should not be acceptable in civilised societies.

        It is easy to write about wars, in a compassionate way, but what use is that, except for making nice buckets of cash? Mankind has been at war as long as man can recall, yet have we ever learned any lessons, except of course as to how to kill opposition more efficiently, and how to improve the effectiveness of propaganda so that foolish masses continue to give up their lives blindly to feed the blood thirsty cravings of a corrupt and opportunistic few?

        No number of research fellows or reporters or doctors or politicians or NGOs were able to stop this ridiculous bloodshed for decades, and the fact to the matter is, it is still ongoing, even though some claim ‘peace’ in Sri Lanka.

  • 0
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    So the evidence hardly proves the intentional slaughter of 10s of thousands or genocide like the the propaganda cadres try to claim! Disproportionante use of force is a very different animal than intentionally targeting non combatants.

    • 0
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      Hey! Ugly American who is it that tried to rescue VP? Why are you avoiding answering?

  • 0
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    US – GON Talks…….fits the bill in Sinhala.

  • 0
    0

    Wrong interpration of give by Tamil-Chavanist of terrorist,there was no WAR BY SINHALESE, AGINST TAMIL race in Sri lanka. Majority Sinhalses are not Chavanist.Unlike Politician of Tamils are Chavanist.Myth of Eelam of SVJ,who had been originiated and promoated Tamil Chavanism

  • 0
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    These stories continue to become the raw evidence that Tamil terrorists were not a result of any ‘Tamil issue’ in the country.
    They were created for a mission. Trained, funded and unleashed in our Motherland by foreign hands, Tamil terrorists created untold pain, misery and damage to Sri Lankans at the request of foreigners, who bloated Velu as a military genius. My as$!

    If these foreign parasites could freely spy on the Sri Lankans on the ground during the war time this successfully, how much damage they must be doing during peace time?

    Activities of the NGOs must be tightly controlled, monitired, reported and those responsible for Crimes Against Motherlanka (CAM) must be made pay dearly. GOSL, tighten the loose ends now.

  • 0
    0

    Well war is brutal .who has fought a decent war in human history.What has America and UK done in Iraq under the bogus disguise of weapons of mass destruction.This is bloody thirty years of pressure build up and it exploded as expected.Some one sees the final bit will never be able to understand this complex issue.it is brutal barbaric undoubtedly.no one can justify the plight of innocent civilians caught up in the middle.at least they are not dying now. If war was not stopped for last couple of years another thousands would have perished anyway.i hope I make some sense though it sounds barbaric and brutal.

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