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05COLOMBO1560 2005-09-07 04:41:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Colombo
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1. (C) Colombo co-chair representatives (Charge', British
DCM Craig, Japanese Ambassador Suda, Norwegian DCM
Laegreid, EC Charge' Wilton) met with UNSYG special envoy
and former Algerian FM Lakhdar Brahimi September 6 to
exchange views on the current situation. Brahimi
characterized his visit to Sri Lanka as "improvised" and
appended on short notice to a visit to India after Sri
Lankan President Chandrika Bandanaraike Kumaratunga (CBK)
had called UNSYG Kofi Annan in the wake of the August 12
assassination of Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Lakshman
Kadirgamar. Brahimi advised that his visit was to "assess
a situation that I don't know much about." He had/would
meet with all significant political players except the LTTE
(no trip to Kilinochchi) and had no plans to make a public
statement beyond an already-concluded interview with BBC to
debunk as "rubbish" local Sunday newspaper reports that his
visit was a UN effort to ease out the Norwegians as
facilitators of the Sri Lankan peace process.

2. (C) Asked after co-chair reps shared their views to
comment on his perceptions and on possible UN next steps,
Brahimi said clearly more had to be done to stem flows of
money and weapons to the LTTE. Moreover, in his view, the
UN needed to do more to call the LTTE on the carpet over
increasing child recruitment numbers ("I'm astonished at
how quiet we've been). Brahimi commented that, atypically
compared to most such situations, the cease-fire in Sri
Lanka has "held for a hell of a long time" given that it
had not been followed by a "meaningful peace process" and
mused (without reaching any conclusions) whether a process
similar to the Bonn Afghanistan meetings ("with key players
waiting in the back rooms to intervene as needed") might
have utility. The Algerian also opined that, given the
LTTE's reputation as a "very brutal organization," perhaps
the United Nations needed to be more outspoken in
condemning the LTTE's "campaign of assassinations,
culminated by but not limited to" Kadirgamar's murder.

3. (C) Brahimi said he will brief UNSYG Annan who will
meet CBK in New York later this month. Brahimi has a
meeting scheduled with Norwegian FM Petersen and DFM
Helgesen next week in New York (and compared notes with
them before his trip). Brahimi doubted that much will come
out of his trip in light of the imminent Sri Lankan
presidential elections and told co-chair reps that "at this
stage" he does not foresee a return to Sri Lanka.