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Wikileaks: Norwegians Concerned Over JVP’s ‘Ugly’ Campaign

Jan 10, 2011 8:38:22 AM - thesundayleader.lk

The anti-Norwegian campaign launched by Sri Lanka’s Marxist JVP during the latter part of 2004 had caused much concern to the Norwegians according to a US cable that has been released by Wikileaks.

The top secret US document released by the Wikileaks has revealed that in late 2004, the Norwegians were increasingly concerned by an ‘ugly’ JVP-orchestrated campaign against their role in the peace process.
The US document states, “the situation is exacerbated by President Kumaratunga’s reluctance to pull the JVP into line,” and adds “Brattskar (then Norwegian Ambassador in Colombo) said he and Oslo were becoming increasingly concerned about and exasperated with the escalating anti-Norwegian rhetoric (also directed against the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission, “SLMM”) which is clearly being orchestrated by the JVP.

The document also states that Oslo is also “fed up” with the GSL´s “lukewarm” response to the JVP campaign.

“Brattskar noted that LTTE leader Prabhakaran, in his November 27 Hero’s Day speech (septel) had commented extensively on how the JVP position was, in the LTTE view, a major stumbling block on the road back to the peace table. Brattskar commented that he finds it increasingly difficult to explain the JVP´s activities and the southern political situation in general to the LTTE. They think I’m a fool.”

Following is the full text of the document released by Wikileaks:

11/29/2004 10:36

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 COLOMBO 001919

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR SA, SA/INS; NSC FOR DORMANDY E.O. 12958:

DECL: 11/29/2014

TAGS: PGOV, PREL, CE, NO, LTTE – Peace Process

SUBJECT: NORWEGIANS CONCERNED BY JVP-ORCHESTRATED CAMPAIGN AGAINST THEM

REF: COLOMBO 1862

Classified By: James F. Entwistle, Deputy Chief of Mission. 1.4 (b,d)

1. (C)

Summary. The Norwegians are increasingly concerned by an ugly

JVP-orchestrated campaign against their role in the peace

process. The situation is exacerbated by President

Kumaratunga,s reluctance to pull the JVP into line. The

Co-Chair consensus here is that a group call on the Foreign

Minister and/or the President to make clear our support for

Norway and to urge that the JVP,s role in the government be

clarified would be appropriate. End Summary.

2. (C)

The Tokyo co-chair chiefs of mission were convened November 29

by Japanese Ambassador Akio Suda. Norwegian Ambassador Hans

Brattskar and Dutch Ambassador Susan Blankhart attended. DCM

represented the U.S. Suda said he had felt it wise for the

co-chairs to meet and discuss the increasingly ugly

anti-Norwegian campaign being orchestrated by the Janatha

Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) and turned the floor over to

Brattskar.

UGLY CAMPAIGN

————-

3. (C)

Brattskar said he and Oslo were becoming increasingly

concerned about and exasperated with the escalating

anti-Norwegian rhetoric (also directed against the Sri Lanka

Monitoring Mission, “SLMM”) which is clearly being

orchestrated by the JVP. Oslo is also “fed up” with the GSL´s

“lukewarm” response to the JVP campaign. Brattskar shared

copies of two documents. The first was a petition handed over

during a November 24 demonstration at the Norwegian Embassy.

The contents, Brattskar noted, were fairly predictable:

Norwegians too `friendly’ with the Liberation Tigers of

Tamil Eelam (LTTE), the SLMM `does nothing’ to prevent

LTTE murders, etc. The interesting parts, Brattskar noted,

were the letterhead and signatories. The petition from the

`Forum of Political Parties and Civil Organizations

against Political Killings and Abductions’ was signed by the

anti-LTTE Tamil Eelam People´s Democratic Party (EPDP), the

JVP, the anti-LTTE Tamil Eelam People´s Revolutionary

Liberation Front (EPRLF), the JVP-aligned National Bhikku

Front, the National University Teachers, Alliance and a few

other small groups. There was also a signature line for

breakaway LTTE faction leader Karuna,s party (the TIVM),

although there was no signature. Brattskar said he had no

doubt that the exercise had been organized by the JVP. He took

a dim view of the fact that two member parties (the EPDP and

the JVP) of the ruling coalition had signed the document.

4. (C)

The second document was a letter (which the Norwegians do not

intend to make public) to Brattskar from JVP Secretary General

Tilvin Silva in response to Bratskar,s efforts to meet with

the JVP leadership in order to explain the Norwegian role and

the activities of the SLMM. (As noted in reftel, Brattskar has

seen several JVP personalities in their ministerial roles but

has not been able to obtain a meeting with the political

leadership.) The letter is indeed insulting. It refers to

Norway as `a relatively insignificant country’ (Brattskar

laughingly commented, `They,re right about that!’) It

accuses Norway of active support and training for the LTTE Sea

Tigers (an old canard that resurfaces periodically in the

media), of pursuing an agenda of active support for the LTTE

against the GSL (`aiding and abetting Tiger terrorism in

devious ways in the name of facilitating peace and thus white

washing crimes against humanity including forced conscription

of children’) and participating in LTTE propaganda efforts.

The letter says, due to these `examples’ of Norwegian

connivance with the LTTE, `The Norwegian Government has

thus openly contravened the United Nations Resolution 1373 of

2001 relating to the suppression of terrorism.’ The letter

concludes with the statement that Norwegian actions

`demonstrate the total lack of our Government,s confidence

in you. In these circumstances, a meeting with you at this

stage will serve no useful purpose.’

ACTIVE CAMPAIGN AROUND THE COUNTRY

———————————-

5. (C)

Brattskar stated that the JVP clearly is orchestrating a

campaign around the country. He had recently taken separate

trips to Hambantota in the deep south and to Kandy and the

`cultural triangle.’ On both trips, there had been clear

indications of such efforts and, Brattskar said, many of those

with whom he met described the JVP campaign in detail. He also

noted that the JVP member of Parliament in Trincomalee had

publicly stated he was organizing a campaign against the SLMM

office there, which Brattskar described as `worrying.’

GOVERNMENT,S POSITION UNCLEAR

—————————–

6. (C)

Brattskar said, after noting the reference to `the

Government,s’ loss of confidence in the Norwegians, he had

written to Foreign Minister Kadirgamar stating that he would

assume that the JVP assertion in this regard was in error

unless he was advised otherwise by the GSL. There has been no

response. Brattskar noted that `we,ve all heard’

Kadirgamar,s now-standard view that the JVP is not cause for

concern since he is `bringing the boys along’ and slowly

turning them to a more centrist position. Brattskar said he

could certainly understand the need for the JVP to `blow

off steam’ if the party was slowly headed in the right

direction on the peace process. That is not the case. Rather,

the JVP is engaging in ugly rhetoric while heading in

absolutely the wrong direction on the peace front. Brattskar

noted that LTTE leader Prabhakaran, in his November 27

`Hero,s Day’ speech (septel) had commented extensively on

how the JVP position was, in the LTTE view, a major stumbling

block on the road back to the peace table. Brattskar commented

that he finds it increasingly difficult to explain the JVP´s

activities and the southern political situation in general to

the LTTE. `They think I´m a fool.’

7. (C)

Brattskar said he will continue to seek clarity from and make

his frustration known to the GSL. He opined, however, that

President Kumaratunga will be unwilling to make the JVP toe

the line (although, according to what Brattskar had heard, she

is privately `furious’ with the JVP,s actions) since her

highest preoccupation these days is with ensuring her

political and parliamentary future. She apparently has not

talked to the JVP for over a month. Exacerbating the

situation, Brattskar said, are opposition leader Ranil

Wickremesinghe,s public comments over the weekend that his UNP

party will no longer support the President in the peace

process. This stems from UNP pique over the recent financially

induced defection of a party member to the President,s

coalition (with more such defections rumored to be in the

offing).

CO-CHAIR ACTION DISCUSSED

————————-

8. (C)

Ambassador Suda said he thought that the co-chairs needed to

make clear to the government that the JVP-led anti-Norwegian

campaign is unacceptable. Co-chair reps debated whether it

made more sense to first see FM Kadirgamar as a group or to

seek a co-chair meeting directly with President Kumaratunga

(since the FM,s response would be predictable). Brattskar said

he wanted to talk quietly with the GSL first and also needed

more time to talk to Oslo. He also said he wanted to get a

readout on Norwegian peace envoy Solheim,s December 1 meeting

with LTTE luminary Balasingham in London before undertaking

any new initiatives here. All agreed that they would consult

with capitals with an eye toward some sort of joint co-chair

activity here in Colombo towards the end of the week.

Brattskar said he might not join since Norway would be the

topic of discussion.

COMMENT

——-

9. (C)

Brattskar is right. The tone of the JVP-orchestrated campaign

is ugly and beyond the pale. We agree with him that it is much

more than `blowing off steam.’ With the Department,s

concurrence, we will be ready to participate in a co-chair

call on either the Foreign Minister or the President later in

the week (we think going directly to CBK, who is just back

from Iran, makes the most sense). We believe the theme of the

co-chair presentation should be that Norway and the SLMM have

our full support, that the GSL needs to make clear that the

JVP does not speak for the entire government, that it is

extremely confusing when two coalition parties sign a petition

condemning the Norwegian role in the peace process (in direct

contradiction of the President,s public statements) and that

the current situation of the JVP being `in’ the coalition

on some issues but `out’ on others is having a deleterious

effect on the peace process. The unknown, of course, is

whether the President is willing to bring the JVP to heel when

the party is crucial to her ongoing political machinations

regarding her political future which, we fear, are at present

a higher priority than the peace process. End Comment.

LUNSTEAD