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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
02COLOMBO1758
2002-09-20 05:43:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Colombo
Cable title:  

Foreign Terrorist Organizations: Sri Lanka update

Tags:   PGOV  PTER  ASEC  KCRM  PINS  CE  LTTE 
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						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 COLOMBO 001758 

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR S/CT:JMANN/ACHAMBERS; ALSO PASS SA, SA/INS

NSC FOR E. MILLARD

LONDON FOR POL/RIEDEL

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09-20-12
TAGS: PGOV PTER ASEC KCRM PINS CE LTTE
SUBJECT: Foreign Terrorist Organizations: Sri Lanka update

Ref: State 179250

(U) Classified by W. Lewis Amselem, Charge d'Affaires.
Reasons 1.5 (b, d).



1. (C) Per Reftel Action Request, Mission has carefully
reviewed the Sri Lanka section of the 2001 Patterns of
Global Terrorism Report. Mission provides the following
update for Department's review:

-- The Sri Lankan government continues to support the
global campaign against terrorism.

-- Domestic situation: For the first time since 1995,
the GSL and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)
held peace talks, September 16-18. (Note: The LTTE is
a FTO-listed organization.) The Norwegian government
facilitated the talks, which took place in Thailand. By
all accounts, the talks were successful, with both sides
agreeing to meet again in coming months, and to form
joint bodies to look into humanitarian- and
demilitarization-related issues. There was also
agreement that Muslim leader Rauf Hakeem would meet with
LTTE leader V. Prabhakaran in October. The focus of
this meeting would be to decrease LTTE-Muslim tensions,
especially in Sri Lanka's ethnically mixed Eastern
Province (see more on this situation below). Also of
importance was that in a press conference held at the
end of the talks the chief LTTE negotiator made remarks
that edged away from an outright demand for a separate
state for Tamils.

-- The GSL lifted its legal ban on the LTTE on
September 4, 2002. The GSL took this step in order to
facilitate the peace process, as the LTTE had demanded
that the ban be lifted as an explicit condition for the
group's entry into peace talks. The GSL's ban had been
in place since January 1998. Although symbolic, the
lifting of the ban has had little practical effect. An
estimated 800 Tamils accused of being terrorist
operatives linked with the LTTE remain incarcerated
under Sri Lanka's Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA)
provisions, for example.

-- A ceasefire, which began in December 2001 and was
formalized into a "cessation of hostilities" accord in
February 2002, remains in effect as of September 2002.

-- A recent statement issued by the Norwegian
government-run Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM)
reports that violations of the February accord by both
sides decreased dramatically in recent months. Almost
all of the violations were minor, with most of them
attributed to the LTTE. The reported violations by the
LTTE include instances of forced recruitment for its
military (some of it of children), and the widespread
extortion of money from Tamils and Muslims. (Note: The
LTTE recently released some children who had been
forcibly recruited.)

-- There have been no reports of terrorist violence
(suicide bombings, etc.) by the LTTE since the ceasefire
began in December 2001. The LTTE has not renounced the
use of terrorism, however.

-- There have been instances of Muslim-Tamil violence in
which people have been killed in past months, including
a series of incidents in late June in the Eastern
Province. The LTTE has been accused of some degree of
involvement in the June incidents, but these reports are
not confirmed. The LTTE has also been accused in at
least one incident involving the killing of a Tamil said
to be an opponent of the group. The LTTE has denied any
involvement.



2. (U) Minimize considered.

AMSELEM