Colombo Telegraph

WikiLeaks: US, Norway Planned To Arm-Twist SL Over Dual-Citizenship Of Rajapaksas And Fonseka

By Colombo Telegraph

“Several times during the discussions with Williamson, different MFA interlocutors stated that after the fall of Kilinochchi, the safety and security of GOSL soldiers became more important to the GOSL than measures to protect civilian life, and this resulted in various reckless practices, such as shelling villages to terrify and evacuate civilians. Another issue raised several times during the day was the U.S. citizenship or green card status of various GOSL leaders, and the Norwegians asked how pressure could be brought to bear on them through this avenue. Ambassador Williamson emphasized that this fell within the jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of Justice, which does not comment on its investigations.”  the US Embassy Oslo informed Washington.

A Leaked “CONFIDENTIAL” US diplomatic cable, dated August 24, 2009, recounts the details of a meeting the US ambassador to Oslo Clint Williamson has had with a variety of high level Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) officials. The Colombo Telegraph found the related leaked cable from the WikiLeaks database which is written by acting Deputy Chief of Mission Cherrie Daniels.

Under the subheading “GOSL WAS WORRIED MORE ABOUT SOLDIERS THAN CIVILIANS” Cherrie Daniels wrote “After meeting with the NGOs, Ambassador Williamson met with Tore Hattrem, the current Norwegian Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Jon Hanssen-Bauer, the Norwegian Special Envoy for Sri Lanka, Wegger Strommen, Norwegian Ambassador to the U.S., Mr. Thomas Stangeland, MFA Deputy Director for Peace and Reconciliation Issues, and other MFA staff. Hattrem summarized the Norwegian view of the challenges to finding out about war crimes: that in all likelihood only 2-3 army officers knew about any given illegal action, that orders were given verbally, that government officials will not give evidence, and that the Tamils are afraid to give evidence. Strommen suggested that although Williamson cannot use information given by the ICRC directly, that information may be used as a cross-check against information gathered from other sources. Stangeland said that the Norwegian government was shocked by the extent to which, in the last stages of the conflict, the Sri Lankan army and government (a) said that its actions were proportionate, which turned out to be false, and (b) violated every guaranteed civilian “safe zone” that was supposedly put into place.”

Other stories related to this cable;

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

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

WikiLeaks: US State Department Collected Information From INGOs
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)

GOSL WAS WORRIED MORE ABOUT SOLDIERS THAN CIVILIANS ——————————————— ——

¶8.(C) After meeting with the NGOs, Ambassador Williamson met with Tore Hattrem, the current Norwegian Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Jon Hanssen-Bauer, the Norwegian Special Envoy for Sri Lanka, Wegger Strommen, Norwegian Ambassador to the U.S., Mr. Thomas Stangeland, MFA Deputy Director for Peace and Reconciliation Issues, and other MFA staff. Hattrem summarized the Norwegian view of the challenges to finding out about war crimes: that in all likelihood only 2-3 army officers knew about any given illegal action, that orders were given verbally, that government officials will not give evidence, and that the Tamils are afraid to give evidence. Strommen suggested that although Williamson cannot use information given by the ICRC directly, that information may be used as a cross-check against information gathered from other sources. Stangeland said that the Norwegian government was shocked by the extent to which, in the last stages of the conflict, the Sri Lankan army and government (a) said that its actions were proportionate, which turned out to be false, and (b) violated every guaranteed civilian “safe zone” that was supposedly put into place.

¶9. (C) Several times during the discussions with Williamson, different MFA interlocutors stated that after the fall of Kilinochchi, the safety and security of GOSL soldiers became more important to the GOSL than measures to protect civilian life, and this resulted in various reckless practices, such as shelling villages to terrify and evacuate civilians. Another issue raised several times during the day was the U.S. citizenship or green card status of various GOSL leaders, and the Norwegians asked how pressure could be brought to bear on them through this avenue. Ambassador Williamson emphasized that this fell within the jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of Justice, which does not comment on its investigations.

¶10.Ambassador Williamson has cleared this cable. HEG

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