Another US top secret document, released by the Wikileaks revealed that in late 2004, the Norwegians were increasingly concerned by an ‘ugly’ JVP-orchestrated campaign against their role in the peace process.
Stating that “the situation is exacerbated by President Kumaratunga’s reluctance to pull the JVP into line,” the document stated that “Brattskar (then Norwegian Ambassador in Colombo) said he and Oslo were becoming increasingly concerned about and exasperated with the escalating anti-Norwegian rhetoric (also directed against the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission, "SLMM") which is clearly being orchestrated by the JVP. Oslo is also "fed up" with the GSL´s "lukewarm" response to the JVP campaign.
11/29/2004 10:36 C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 COLOMBO 001919 SIPDIS DEPARTMENT FOR SA, SA/INS; NSC FOR DORMANDY E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/29/2014 TAGS: PGOV, PREL, CE, NO, LTTE - Peace Process SUBJECT: NORWEGIANS CONCERNED BY JVP-ORCHESTRATED CAMPAIGN AGAINST THEM REF: COLOMBO 1862 Classified By: James F. Entwistle, Deputy Chief of Mission. 1.4 (b,d) 1. (C) Summary. T 2. (C) The Tokyo co-chair chiefs of mission were convened November 29 by Japanese Ambassador Akio Suda. Norwegian Ambassador Hans Brattskar and Dutch Ambassador Susan Blankhart attended. DCM represented the U.S. Suda said he had felt it wise for the co-chairs to meet and discuss the increasingly ugly anti-Norwegian campaign being orchestrated by the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) and turned the floor over to Brattskar. UGLY CAMPAIGN ------------- 3. (C) B 4. (C) The second document was a letter (which the Norwegians do not intend to make public) to Brattskar from JVP Secretary General Tilvin Silva in response to Bratskar,s efforts to meet with the JVP leadership in order to explain the Norwegian role and the activities of the SLMM. (As noted in reftel, Brattskar has seen several JVP personalities in their ministerial roles but has not been able to obtain a meeting with the political leadership.) The letter is indeed insulting. It refers to Norway as `a relatively insignificant country' (Brattskar laughingly commented, `They,re right about that!') It accuses Norway of active support and training for the LTTE Sea Tigers (an old canard that resurfaces periodically in the media), of pursuing an agenda of active support for the LTTE against the GSL (`aiding and abetting Tiger terrorism in devious ways in the name of facilitating peace and thus white washing crimes against humanity including forced conscription of children') and participating in LTTE propaganda efforts. The letter says, due to these `examples' of Norwegian connivance with the LTTE, `The Norwegian Government has thus openly contravened the United Nations Resolution 1373 of 2001 relating to the suppression of terrorism.' The letter concludes with the statement that Norwegian actions `demonstrate the total lack of our Government,s confidence in you. In these circumstances, a meeting with you at this stage will serve no useful purpose.' ACTIVE CAMPAIGN AROUND THE COUNTRY ---------------------------------- 5. (C) Brattskar stated that the JVP clearly is orchestrating a campaign around the country. He had recently taken separate trips to Hambantota in the deep south and to Kandy and the `cultural triangle.' On both trips, there had been clear indications of such efforts and, Brattskar said, many of those with whom he met described the JVP campaign in detail. He also noted that the JVP member of Parliament in Trincomalee had publicly stated he was organizing a campaign against the SLMM office there, which Brattskar described as `worrying.' GOVERNMENT,S POSITION UNCLEAR ----------------------------- 6. (C) Brattskar said, after noting the reference to `the Government,s' loss of confidence in the Norwegians, he had written to Foreign Minister Kadirgamar stating that he would assume that the JVP assertion in this regard was in error unless he was advised otherwise by the GSL. There has been no response. Brattskar noted that `we,ve all heard' Kadirgamar,s now-standard view that the JVP is not cause for concern since he is `bringing the boys along' and slowly turning them to a more centrist position. Brattskar said he could certainly understand the need for the JVP to `blow off steam' if the party was slowly headed in the right direction on the peace process. That is not the case. Rather, the JVP is engaging in ugly rhetoric while heading in absolutely the wrong direction on the peace front. Brattskar noted that LTTE leader Prabhakaran, in his November 27 `Hero,s Day' speech (septel) had commented extensively on how the JVP position was, in the LTTE view, a major stumbling block on the road back to the peace table. Brattskar commented that he finds it increasingly difficult to explain the JVP´s activities and the southern political situation in general to the LTTE. `They think I´m a fool.' 7. (C) Brattskar said he will continue to seek clarity from and make his frustration known to the GSL. He opined, however, that President Kumaratunga will be unwilling to make the JVP toe the line (although, according to what Brattskar had heard, she is privately `furious' with the JVP,s actions) since her highest preoccupation these days is with ensuring her political and parliamentary future. She apparently has not talked to the JVP for over a month. Exacerbating the situation, Brattskar said, are opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe,s public comments over the weekend that his UNP party will no longer support the President in the peace process. This stems from UNP pique over the recent financially induced defection of a party member to the President,s coalition (with more such defections rumored to be in the offing). CO-CHAIR ACTION DISCUSSED ------------------------- 8. (C) Ambassador Suda said he thought that the co-chairs needed to make clear to the government that the JVP-led anti-Norwegian campaign is unacceptable. Co-chair reps debated whether it made more sense to first see FM Kadirgamar as a group or to seek a co-chair meeting directly with President Kumaratunga (since the FM,s response would be predictable). Brattskar said he wanted to talk quietly with the GSL first and also needed more time to talk to Oslo. He also said he wanted to get a readout on Norwegian peace envoy Solheim,s December 1 meeting with LTTE luminary Balasingham in London before undertaking any new initiatives here. All agreed that they would consult with capitals with an eye toward some sort of joint co-chair activity here in Colombo towards the end of the week. Brattskar said he might not join since Norway would be the topic of discussion. COMMENT ------- 9. (C) Brattskar is right. The tone of the JVP-orchestrated campaign is ugly and beyond the pale. We agree with him that it is much more than `blowing off steam.' With the Department,s concurrence, we will be ready to participate in a co-chair call on either the Foreign Minister or the President later in the week (we think going directly to CBK, who is just back from Iran, makes the most sense). We believe the theme of the co-chair presentation should be that Norway and the SLMM have our full support, that the GSL needs to make clear that the JVP does not speak for the entire government, that it is extremely confusing when two coalition parties sign a petition condemning the Norwegian role in the peace process (in direct contradiction of the President,s public statements) and that the current situation of the JVP being `in' the coalition on some issues but `out' on others is having a deleterious effect on the peace process. The unknown, of course, is whether the President is willing to bring the JVP to heel when the party is crucial to her ongoing political machinations regarding her political future which, we fear, are at present a higher priority than the peace process. End Comment. LUNSTEAD
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