|03COLOMBO1712||2003-10-02 05:23:00||CONFIDENTIAL||Embassy Colombo|
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
C O N F I D E N T I A L COLOMBO 001712
1. (U) On October 1, Ambassador, plus
Ambassadors/Charges/DCM's from UK, Italy, Germany,
France, Australia and Netherlands and Japan -- all of
the PSI members with resident missions in Colombo --
called on GSL Acting Foreign Secretary Sarala Fernando,
MFA Legal Adviser Rohan Perera and MFA Director General
for European Political Affairs Pamela Dean to make
demarche on PSI requested in Ref C.
2. (C) UK Hicomm Evans led off by noting the purpose of
the demarche and the importance of the issue. He then
passed off to Ambassador Lunstead who expressed desire
of PSI members to gain support from Sri Lanka and desire
to learn about Sri Lanka's legal authorities and
enforcement capabilities. He noted that Colombo's busy
container port made Sri Lanka an important player in
this regard. He then handed off to Australian DCM who
explained the recent Coral Sea interdiction exercise.
All other participants in demarche then expressed their
seriousness in joining the PSI demarche.
3. (C) Acting Foreign Secretary Fernando said she could
give only a preliminary response now, that Sri Lanka of
course would support stopping the proliferation of WMD.
The GSL had some questions, however, and she then turned
to Legal Adviser Rodrigo. He said that as a lawyer he
found the PSI Principles "interesting." Concentrating on
at-sea issues, he said that Sri Lanka believed that
freedom of the high seas was not unrestricted, and could
be used only for lawful purposes. PSI, he said, was a
"further step," and wondered from a legal perspective
how it would find wide-spread acceptance. He wondered
also about authority to board vessels on the high seas.
Using material from Ref C, Ambassador gave some partial
answers, noting that he was not a lawyer. He promised
to give the MFA the legal material in Ref C and that if
MFA could give us specific legal questions, we would
attempt to obtain answers.
4. (C) FonSec then turned to more functional questions,
wondering just how PSI would work. Would there be a
request from all members to take action, or from some,
or just one? Ambassador said that PSI was not a formal
structure, and UK HiComm added that it would be ad hoc,
presumably with intelligence being passed through
existing channels with a request that action be taken.
5. (C) FonSec added again that the GSL could support
PSI in principle. She promised a more detailed
response, but said the MFA would have to coordinate with
line ministries, and doubted that response would be
available before the Oct 9-10 London PSI meeting. Sri
Lanka, she said, "might well get involved." She
suggested that support from regional organizations such
as ASEAN would be useful, and further suggested that the
US raise the issue at the Indian Ocean Rim Countries
meeting next week.
6. (C) COMMENT: We worked together with UK to
carefully orchestrate this meeting to provide strong
impression PSI is genuine multilateral initiative of
great importance to all members. We think it worked.
7. (U) Minimize considered.