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US warning on SL –Iran relations

2 February 2011 04:44 am - 47     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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The whistle blower website Wikileaks today revealed a diplomatic warning given by the United States to Sri Lanka over its close relations with Iran. The cables reveal conversations between the US embassy officials and Central Bank governor Ajith Nivad Cabraal and the then foreign secretary Palitha Kohona.



SRI LANKA: DELIVERY OF FATF GUIDANCE REGARDING IRAN

Passed to the Telegraph by WikiLeaks 9:00PM GMT 01 Feb 2011

Ref ID: 07COLOMBO1506

Date: 11/2/2007 8:51

Origin: Embassy Colombo

Classification: SECRET

Destination: 07SECSTATE149648

S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 COLOMBO 001506
SUBJECT: SRI LANKA: DELIVERY OF FATF GUIDANCE REGARDING IRAN REF: A. SECSTATE 149648 B. COLOMBO 1439 C. COLOMBO 1307 Classified By: Charge d'Affaires James R. Moore for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

1.(C) Summary: The Ambassador and DCM told the Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka and the Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, respectively, that Sri Lanka should be cautious about deepening its trade relationship with Iran, in light of the recent ref A Financial Action Task Force (FATF) advisory. The Ambassador and DCM reiterated that weapons procurement from Iran would be illegal under UN Security Council Resolution 1747, and would have serious negative consequences for U.S.-Sri Lanka relations. Both Governor Cabraal and Secretary Kohona replied that Sri Lanka does not intend to purchase arms from Iran. Both asserted that President Rajapaksa's trip to Iran in late November would be focused on trade and investment, but a well-connected embassy source quoted to us a government minister saying that Sri Lanka would try to negotiate a contract for $200 million worth of oil from Iran at below-market prices, in exchange for which Sri Lanka would order a significant quantity of arms. End summary.

GOVERNMENT: NO FURTHER ARMS PURCHASES FROM IRAN --------------------------------------------- --

2.(C) Ambassador told Central Bank Governor Cabraal November 1 that Sri Lankan President Rajapaksa's planned late-November trip to Iran (ref B) would attract negative attention in Washington, as both the UN and the United States had recently imposed strengthened sanctions against Iran for its proliferation-, nuclear-, and terrorism-related activities. As a friend, the Ambassador said, the United States urged Sri Lanka "to be very scrupulous" in entering into additional trade or investment deals with Iran. The Ambassador conveyed the recent Financial Action Task Force (FATF) announcement that Iran's anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing regime was deficient and that members should regard doing business with Iran as risky.

3.(C) Cabraal stated that he was aware of the UN obligations and that the Central Bank had advised Sri Lankan banks to sever ties with Bank Sepah (ref C), a process that was underway. After asking the Ambassador to describe further what issues made contact with Iran so problematic, Cabraal listened carefully and seemed responsive to the Ambassador's advice that senior GSL officials should do their best to ensure that President Rajapaksa was aware of the possible harmful consequences of strengthening relations with Iran.

4.(C) DCM delivered a similar message to Foreign Secretary Palitha Kohona later in the day, cautioning that closer business ties could end up inadvertently enmeshing Sri Lankan firms with Iranian banks or firms created to avoid sanctions. DCM also emphasized that UNSCR prohibited Iran from exporting any arms or related materiel. Kohona acknowledged that Sri Lanka could no longer purchase arms from Iran, but was not categorical about it: he was "reasonably confident" that there would be no arms deals during the president's upcoming trip. Commercial transactions between the two countries would continue, he said, since Iran was an important buyer of Sri Lankan tea and such transactions were not prohibited by UN sanctions. Kohona noted that the President would travel without any of his ministers, since COLOMBO 00001506 002 OF 002 all were members of parliament whom the government had instructed to remain in Colombo throughout the November budget debate. Prior to visiting Tehran, Rajapaksa will attend a Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Kampala November 23-25.

REPORT: MINISTER SAYS ARMS DEALS POSSIBLE -----------------------------------------

5.(S) A well-connected and reliable embassy source reported that Minister of Disaster Management and Human Rights Mahinda Samarasinghe told him that arms purchases may in fact be a goal of President Rajapaksa's trip to Tehran. He said Sri Lanka would try to negotiate a contract for $200 million worth of oil from Iran at below-market prices, in exchange for which Sri Lanka would order an unspecified but significant quantity of arms. According to our source, Samarasinghe explicitly noted that the GSL also hoped the transaction would "send the U.S. a message."

6.(C) Comment: Post welcomes any guidance from the Department prior to President Rajapaksa's planned late-November trip, and will apprise the Department of details we learn about the visit after it concludes.
MOORE

Source: The Telegraph
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  Comments - 47

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  • KHKaru Wednesday, 02 February 2011 03:47 PM

    US's 'democracy' seem to be possessed by a ' Crazy Demon '. I hope and pray that a greater superpower will perform an effective 'exorcism ' , which may cure its haughtiness as well.

    tsunami hora Wednesday, 02 February 2011 04:17 PM

    well said

    Villager Thursday, 03 February 2011 06:06 AM

    Yes, this observation is so pertinent it should be screamed out from the roof-tops!

    geegan Thursday, 03 February 2011 06:25 AM

    At first tamils try to live as Srilankans NOT as Tamilnaadu-It depend on how Sri lankans tereat you. More you bully with rallies and protest more you lose your fith. Its not Sri lankans but tamils has resposibility!

    superFonseka Wednesday, 02 February 2011 08:14 AM

    sun good to see people like you visit this site. Cheers mate.

    MooN Wednesday, 02 February 2011 08:18 AM

    Tripical sri lankan attitude of thinking...

    TMA Wednesday, 02 February 2011 08:15 AM

    How do U define a freedom fighter? A guy who blows himself up in a public place?

    Upul Wednesday, 02 February 2011 06:45 PM

    Aren't they live in Sri Lanka, or Sri Lankans?

    nagu Wednesday, 02 February 2011 08:32 AM

    We should also warn US about their close relationship which the LTTE diaspora has with some US lawmakers..........

    finoen Wednesday, 02 February 2011 07:05 PM

    who cares

    Ranjith Wednesday, 02 February 2011 08:44 AM

    Whatever US says our best friends are Iran, Myanmar, North Korea, Libya and China. But for health matters and holidaying we always visit west.

    demon Wednesday, 02 February 2011 09:03 AM

    ha ha well said...specially for cancer treatment...

    CW Wednesday, 02 February 2011 09:22 AM

    This is what the US Emabassy had to say. Does it mean that Kohona or Cabraal said anything anout Iran? Be careful. US is a friend & an enemy.

    bernard Wednesday, 02 February 2011 10:39 PM

    After you win the world cup, all the problems will be solved.
    Sri Lankans will be so happy and stop complaining about high cost of commodities and unemployment.

    gamunu Wednesday, 02 February 2011 09:44 AM

    Absolutely correct. Couldn't put it any better!!

    xlntgson Wednesday, 02 February 2011 10:11 AM

    Sovereignty is purchasing US arms, selling the legacy! Egypt, Saudi style!

    Anura L S Thursday, 03 February 2011 01:05 AM

    Yes we need them . Dr, Eng and all educated SRILANKANS tamils ,pl come back its ur motherland not any other country

    C.K. Lankaputhra Thursday, 03 February 2011 01:29 AM

    At the rate things going on here, if not for west, Sri Lanka will be a hell on earth soon.

    mahasona Wednesday, 02 February 2011 10:28 AM

    Samarasinghe explicitly noted that the GSL also hoped the transaction would "send the U.S. a message."

    what does this mean???

    cracko Thursday, 03 February 2011 01:40 AM

    Did you mean Tamil diaspora? Pls move on without using 'LTTE'

    amkoon Thursday, 03 February 2011 02:35 AM

    When US and european countries stopped or reduced support to Sri Lanka the country had no option but to turn into other countries such as Iran, China and India. None of these USA nor the european countries supported the war against LTTE militants. USA labels a struggle as 'Terrorsism' only if that struggle are not supporting their goals otherwise it becomes a 'Liberation Movement'.

    Ranjith Thursday, 03 February 2011 02:39 AM

    Why only educated. Are all Sinhales Drs and Eng's?. Sri Lanka needs more WW's and Maravins

    Nihal Amarasekera Wednesday, 02 February 2011 04:54 AM

    what sovereignty does a “small” country has in this modern “democratic” world powered by a Hypocritical “super power”?

    Dutugamunu Wednesday, 02 February 2011 11:12 AM

    you too MooN....

    Darwin Wednesday, 02 February 2011 04:56 AM

    This is why we have no financial assistance from the west.

    dias Wednesday, 02 February 2011 11:20 AM

    US WHAT IS THE PROBLEM WITH YOU , MY CAR MY MONEY

    J Wednesday, 02 February 2011 11:38 AM

    This is why the country is at major financial crisis...... and the inflation is going up

    We will anyway have to have good terms and USA

    KD Thursday, 03 February 2011 12:02 PM

    You got cancer? Dont delay go see a doctor.

    Mahi Seneviratne Wednesday, 02 February 2011 11:49 AM

    US must learn what freedom means. Freedom to to trade
    free speech express opinions. Tell the truth about whether be massacres by US forces in Iraq.

    R.Dias Wednesday, 02 February 2011 12:20 PM

    FACE THE REALITY AND TRUTH NOT LIES & DECEPTION. IT IS ONLY THEN ONE CAN STAND WHEN THE STORM HITS.

    Citizen Wednesday, 02 February 2011 05:36 AM

    First try to develop a good relationship with Tamils!

    TMA Wednesday, 02 February 2011 05:46 AM

    Iran itself is an extreimist state funding terrorism

    hari Wednesday, 02 February 2011 12:41 PM

    Iranian government has a much worse record than the US when it comes to human rights,media freedom,dissident torture etc.Can't understand these people who say Sri lanka should be like Iran.

    Gino Wednesday, 02 February 2011 01:19 PM

    Only one thing is left for us to do! SL should become Nuclear country!! SL can certainly prove to be a super power in Asia.

    lokkalk Wednesday, 02 February 2011 05:58 AM

    West never gave so called financial assistant to developing countries. Thy just want to keep developing countries to be as it is and they dont like to see them as developed! That is why we should not depend on west

    Yehiya-Doha Wednesday, 02 February 2011 02:03 PM

    Talking like king in stage. But indirectly knee down to USA.

    Fayad Wednesday, 02 February 2011 06:40 AM

    Don't get mix up with terrorist & freedom fighters !!!!!!
    "They have to stand up for their rights"

    Gayan Wednesday, 02 February 2011 02:58 PM

    Telling USA to take a hike !

    Yohan Wednesday, 02 February 2011 06:37 AM

    Brain Wash, How did Sri Lanka flourish following the 2004 tsunami when it should have shrunk ?

    Gayan Wednesday, 02 February 2011 03:06 PM

    This is a properganda tool USA use against Iran just like they did against Iraq before the invation and occupation.

    Sun Wednesday, 02 February 2011 07:00 AM

    yet another wikieak, I dont give a shit about these stuff.
    All I want is the rain to stop befor the Cricket world cup!
    cos april 2nd we are gonna be the cricket champions agin!

    simple mind Thursday, 03 February 2011 05:03 AM

    I suppose China gives us aid? From whom have we received aid if not from the west? Has china given us aid, no but they have given us loans @ commercial rates

    Sanga Wednesday, 02 February 2011 03:40 PM

    The way SL supporting China against with BUDDIST Tibet and denied the visiting of DALILAMA.

    loku podi guru Wednesday, 02 February 2011 03:51 PM

    How do you define best friends?


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