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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
09USUNNEWYORK424 2009-04-23 22:25:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY USUN New York
Cable title:  

VIJAY NAMBIAR BRIEFS THE COUNCIL ON SRI LANKA

Tags:   PREL PGOV PHUM PREF CE 
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VZCZCXYZ0001
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUCNDT #0424 1132225
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 232225Z APR 09
FM USMISSION USUN NEW YORK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6404
INFO RUEHLM/AMEMBASSY COLOMBO PRIORITY 0271
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI PRIORITY 2572
					  UNCLAS USUN NEW YORK 000424 

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM PREF CE
SUBJECT: VIJAY NAMBIAR BRIEFS THE COUNCIL ON SRI LANKA



1. (SBU) Summary: On April 22, the Security Council met in an
"informal interactive discussion" format to discuss the
humanitarian crisis in Sri Lanka. The Secretary-General,s
chief of staff, Vijay Nambiar, briefed on his recent visit to
Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan Ambassador also briefed on behalf
of his government. Following conclusion of the meeting,
Council members agreed unanimously for the Mexican President
of the Council to brief the press on the following points:
strong support for the efforts of the UN and the
Secretary-General in Sri Lanka; condemning the LTTE and
demanding that they lay down their arms; expressing deep
concern about the humanitarian situation; urging all parties,
including the government of Sri Lanka, to abide by their
obligations under international humanitarian law; and urging
further steps be taken to allow for the safe evacuation and
treatment of IDPs. End summary.



2. (SBU) Vijay Nambiar briefed the Council on his recent trip
to Colombo. He noted the government,s refusal to call for
another humanitarian pause because the government says it
would be exploited by the LTTE. He also discussed the UN,s
possible role in assisting the government, and said the
government had committed to allowing a UN team into the
conflict area, but said the modalities of that were still to
be worked out. Nambiar expressed disappointment that,
despite assurances, the government of Sri Lanka did not
"consistently or fully" implement measures to minimize risks
to trapped civilians. These civilians, said Nambiar, are in
"extreme peril." He stated that "both sides have failed in
their responsibility to protect civilians." Nambiar urged
the Council to act together to address this issue. He added
that the government needed to look beyond the current
situation to achieve long-term political reconciliation.



3. (SBU) Ambassador Palihakkara of Sri Lanka defended his
government,s actions, and said the Defense Ministry told the
government that it had not fired deliberately on civilians.
Palihakkara also said the government had no plans for a
large-scale movement by the military to enter the remaining
safe zone. He expressed openness for a UN role and said the
government will pursue other options for an end to the
fighting with the LTTE.



4. (SBU) On substance, Council members largely shared the
same views. All countries called on both sides to uphold
international humanitarian law, condemned the LTTE, and
supported the role of the UN. China, Russia and Vietnam were
more muted than previously in their support of the government
of Sri Lanka, and dropped their opposition voiced during the
last interactive discussion to allowing the President of the
Security Council to present a summary of the discussion to
the press. France, the United States and the United Kingdom
pointedly underscored the responsibility of the Sri Lankan
government to protect civilians. Japan entered into a
lengthy discussion supporting the decision of the government
of Sri Lanka not to allow another humanitarian pause, and
along with China, Russia and Vietnam, emphasized that the
LTTE was wholly to blame for the situation.



5. (SBU) At the conclusion of the meeting, Council members
unanimously agreed that the Mexican President should brief
the press on the meeting. The Mexican Ambassador noted the
following points: the Security Council expressed strong
support for the efforts of the UN and the Secretary-General
in Sri Lanka, condemning the LTTE and demanding that they lay
down their arms, expressed deep concern about the
humanitarian situation, urged all parties, including the
government of Sri Lanka, to abide by their obligations under
international humanitarian law and urged further steps be
taken to allow for the safe evacuation and treatment of IDPs.
Rice