The United States had threatened Sri Lanka in 2009 with costly sanctions if weapons deals were carried out with both Iran and North Korea during the final stage of the war, a secret US cable revealed.
Oslo newspaper Aftenposten, which continues to churn out stories related to the content of more than 250,000 diplomatic cables that the US had intended to keep secret, stated that “any arms purchase contracts entered into by Sri Lankan entities with North Korea or Iran, if implemented, could trigger sanctions against the entities involved under the Iran, North Korea, and Syria Nonproliferation Act (INKSNA).”
The Cable dated 08/05/2009 also stated that “Recent intelligence reports indicate that a Sri Lankan company responsible for the acquisition of equipment and services for the Sri Lankan military is negotiating the purchase of RPG-7 Rocket Propelled Grenade Launchers (RPGs) and Multiple Rocket Launchers (MRLs) from North Korea´s primary weapons trading firm.”
Any purchases would have been in violation of UN resolutions against trade with either country, it said.
Sri Lankan officials denied they were in the process of illegal weapon purchases, but the US ambassador in Colombo wasn’t convinced. There was no comment on any deals with North Korea.
08.05.2009: SRI LANKA NEGOTIATING TO PROCURE LETHAL MILITARY EQUIPMENT FROM NORTH KOREA AND IRAN
E C R E T STATE 046946
E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/01/2019
TAGS: ETTC, KN, KNNP, MARR, MCAP, MOPS, PARM, PINR, PREL
SUBJECT: SRI LANKA NEGOTIATING TO PROCURE LETHAL MILITARY
EQUIPMENT FROM NORTH KOREA AND IRAN
REF: 2006 STATE 141140
Classified By: Michael Owen, Director SCA/INS per E.O. 12958 for