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2002-08-30 06:09:00
Embassy Colombo
Cable title:  

Leftist JVP: Predicts failure of peace talks;

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						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 COLOMBO 001599 



E.O. 12958: DECL: 8/29/12
SUBJECT: Leftist JVP: Predicts failure of peace talks;
supports globalization, kind of; US too influential

(U) Classified by Lewis Amselem, DCM. Reasons 1.5

1. (C) During a recent one hour meeting with poloff, JVP
General Secretary Tilvin Silva outlined his party's
position on a multitude of issues, including:

-- predicting the peace process will fail;

-- dissatisfaction with a proposed constitutional
amendment limiting the Presidents powers;

-- the USG may have too much influence in Sri Lanka;

-- the ban against LTTE is being lifted too early;

-- economic reform, including privatization and

-- and cohabitation politics.

Peace Process


2. (C) Tilvin Silva of the leftist Sinhala-chauvinist
Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) opened an hour meeting
by "guaranteeing" that the current peace process would
fail. He insisted that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil
Eelam (LTTE) are only using the current ceasefire to
extend their reach. Silva gave examples of the LTTE
continuing recruitment, repositioning cadre, and having
access to areas they previously did not. In his
opinion, the GSL continues to cede, including on
transport of cadre by sea, while the LTTE only ended
open warfare. He claims that the LTTE continues to
assassinate Tamils "collaborators". Silva asserts that
the LTTE has become proportionately stronger in the
Tamil community because all Tamil organizations except
the LTTE have had to give up their weapons.

3. (C) Silva further commented that until the LTTE
openly declares that it is not seeking an Eelam there
will always be distrust of them in the south (i.e. the
Sinhalese community). As it now stands the LTTE has no
desire for a peace settlement; they only want the
ceasefire to continue for as long as possible. As long
as the ceasefire holds they are able to strengthen
themselves without opposition.

4. (C) Silva also had numerous complaints about what may
be discussed in the peace talks. He explained that
federalism, in any form, would not work in the present
situation. He asserted that whereas internationally
federalism was used to combine separate entities, in Sri
Lanka it is creating divides. The LTTE will only see
federalism as a first step in creating an Eelam state.

Constitutional Amendment


5. (C) Silva stated that the JVP is opposed to both
parts of the constitutional amendment currently being
discussed. (Note: the United National Front --UNF-- is
proposing an amendment which would limit the President
powers to dissolve parliament and permit MPs to vote
outside of party lines in Parliament.) The JVP's
position, which coincides with the President's, is that

the current executive presidency should be eliminated,
but the change should be all at once and not
incremental. Silva added that those claiming the
President will call elections as soon as
constitutionally possible are wrong. The People's
Alliance (PA), the President's party, is not prepared
for an election. Silva claimed that the JVP supports a
call for "conscience" voting in Parliament, but the UNF
is only calling for conscience voting on certain issues
and only the UNF, as the majority bloc in Parliament, is
permitted to decide what those issues are.

USG involvement in Sri Lanka


6. (C) Silva stated that the JVP membership is concerned
that the current government is more focused on pleasing
western nations, particularly the U.S., than responding
to Sri Lankans. He added that there is a growing
perception in the south that the Norwegian government is
working on the instructions of the USG. Poloff
responded that the USG is supportive of the work the
Norwegians are doing in fostering the peace process, but
it is the GoN that is making the decisions and working
with the GSL on the peace process.
Lifting of the Ban on the LTTE


7. (C) The GSL has stated that it will temporarily lift
the ban on the LTTE September 6, ten days before peace
talks are scheduled to commence. Silva stated that
until the LTTE lays down its arms and publicly
repudiates the claim for a separate nation, the ban must
stay in place. He dismissed the "temporary" nature of
the lifting of the ban as pure semantics, either there
is or there is not a ban. Silva also confirmed that the
JVP was planning a protest march against the lifting of
the ban, but was unwilling to discuss the details of the

Economic reform


9. (C) In a dramatic departure from the JVP's
Marxist/socialist ideological base, Silva stated that
the JVP was willing to support globalization and
privatization to reform the Sri Lanka economy. He
stated that neither issue was bad in itself, but the way
the GSL was going about it was. Silva complained that
widespread corruption and graft prevents privatization
from happening in a manner that helps the economy. He
further commented that globalization is fine as long as
the national economy takes steps to make sure it is
strong enough to compete in the international market.
Following these grand proclamations, Silva started
listing measures needed to protect the local market.



10. (C) Silva believes that one reason for the current
cohabitation difficulties is that PM Wickremesinghe is
duplicitous. Wickremesinghe, according to Silva, has a
very convincing veneer of a gentleman, but uses others
in his party to attack the President. Silva conceded
that Wickremesinghe might not have complete control of
his party membership and that some ministers may be
acting on their own. According to Silva, in the end,
the problems of cohabitation are because neither side
acts in a statesman-like manner.