|06COLOMBO1824||2006-11-03 09:46:00||CONFIDENTIAL||Embassy Colombo|
1. (C) Norwegian Ambassador Brattskar briefed Co-Chair
Ambassadors November 3 on the results of the Geneva Peace
Talks between the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE.
Brattskar's briefing tracked closely with that provided by
the Norwegians to Embassy Oslo (ref A). Following are some
additional points and impressions from Brattskar.
-- Brattskar was impressed that LTTE Leader Thamilselvan has
"grown in stature" now that he was no longer the junior
negotiator to Balasingham. He also commented that Tamil
immigration lawyer Kumar (who is an AmCit and drafter of the
Interim Self Governing Arrangements) also played a
constructive role, particularly in private meetings.
-- Brattskar noted his impression that the government did not
come prepared to talk substance. They had a framework, but
did not have authority to interact on the details of that
framework in ither the direct talks or the side meetings
thattook place with the Norwegians. To give some meat to
this part of the agenda the GSL agreed to a Nowegian
suggestion that the GSL brief on the UNP/SLFP talks.
Minister Bogollagama told the LTTE that the government
expects to conclude the all-party conference process that
they hoped will result in a devolution plan by January of
2007 and would be prepared to discuss such a plan at whatever
negotiation is scheduled after that.
-- The LTTE for its part wanted to focus on humanitarian
issues, the ceasefire agreement, and the status of the Sri
Lankan Monitoring Mission. The GSL did not want to discuss
the latter two issues in part because they had no faith in
the LTTE's willingness to sustain a ceasefire. Brattskar
also noted the LTTE was willing to talk about political
issues, which was a welcome departure from previous meetings
where they had insisted on discussing the CFA and
humanitarian issues before delving into political ones.
Although the government made much of the fact that the LTTE
delegation did not focus on the demerger issue, Brattskar
downplayed the significance of that, explaining that for
tactical reasons the LTTE wanted to defer discussions of
sensitive issues such as the demerger to future negotiations.
-- Brattskar confirmed that the A-9 road issue almost
scuttled the talks. Government said they would be prepared
to discuss the matter at the next negotiating round. The
LTTE initially told the Norwegians that they would not return
to the second day of talks in Geneva unless the GSL was
prepared to engage on the A-9. Following extensive side
discussions with the Norwegians, the LTTE backed down, but
nonetheless insisted they would not attend a fresh round of
negotiations until the A-9 matter could be cleared up.
2. (C) At this point co-chairs turned their attention to the
aerial bombardment of a facility immediately adjacent to a
hospital in Killinochchi on November 2 (septel).
3. (C) Comment: A UN team arrives shortly in Colombo to
try to work out modalities for UN and/or ICRC shipments of
humanitarian supplies to Jaffna. As part of their talks the
team will also seek to make progress on the A-9 issue.