Mukherjee will express India's concerns over the situation in Sri Lanka and propose to the Secretary (Clinton) that the U.S. and India coordinate on an international response which would force the GSL to take appropriate political steps to bring stability to Sri Lanka and a return to normalcy in the Tamil regions.
203792, 4/23/2009 14:57, 09NEWDELHI814, Embassy New Delhi, CONFIDENTIAL,, "VZCZCXRO7462OO RUEHBI RUEHCI RUEHDBU RUEHLH RUEHPWDE RUEHNE #0814 1131457ZNY CCCCC ZZHO 231457Z APR 09FM AMEMBASSY NEW DELHITO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6325INFO RUCNCLS/ALL SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA COLLECTIVERUEHTH/AMEMBASSY ATHENS 0001RUEHBK/AMEMBASSY BANGKOK 7271RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 7602RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 6277RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW 3350RUEHNY/AMEMBASSY OSLO 0360RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 6304RUEHON/AMCONSUL TORONTO 0033RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 7923RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDCRUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 8270RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDCRHEHNSC/NSC WASHDCRUEIDN/DNI WASHINGTON DCRHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FLRHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HIRUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC","C O N F I D E N T I A L NEW DELHI 000814
E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/23/2018 TAGS: PREL, PGOV, PHUM, MOPS, PREF, ASEC, CE, IN SUBJECT: INDIAN FOREIGN SECRETARY URGES COOPERATION ON SRI LANKA
Classified By: CDA Peter Burleigh for Reasons 1.4 (B, D)
1. (C) Charge met with Indian Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon April 23 for a discussion on the urgent humanitarian situation in Sri Lanka and its ramifications for India. Menon began the conversation by noting that External Affairs Minister Mukherjee had requested a telephone call to Secretary Clinton for later in the day. Mukherjee will express India's concerns over the situation in Sri Lanka and propose to the Secretary that the U.S. and India coordinate on an international response which would force the GSL to take appropriate political steps to bring stability to Sri Lanka and a return to normalcy in the Tamil regions. Menon said he hoped the outcome of the telephone call would be that the leadership on both sides would signal to the working level to coordinate and take action. Menon noted EAM Mukherjee's actions the night before, where he had called a cabinet meeting to discuss Sri Lanka, with the cabinet deciding to make a new appeal to the GSL to pause military operations and provide relief to civilians trapped in the combat. Menon denied press rumors that Sri Lankan Presidential Advisor Basil Rajapaksa was visiting India, saying India had told Rajapaksa he would be welcomed but only if he had a significant new message.
2. (C) Describing the Sri Lankan government as being ""in its moment of victory,"" Menon said India did not feel a sense of urgency by the GSL to start plans for reconstructing the north and allowing internally displaced persons (IDPs) to return to their lands or re-establish a ""normal"" existence. IDPs are currently being herded into camps, and Menon worried that without international presence on the ground, such as the United Nations and International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the government would keep the IDPs effectively locked up. ""That's where the international community can help,"" Menon said, agreeing with the Charge that, if left unchecked, the GSL would be unlikely to rehabilitate the region.
3. (C) Menon proposed that the U.S. and India work with the UN, EU, Japan and others interested in the situation in Sri Lanka to address the humanitarian effort on an urgent basis and, further, that the U.S. and India coordinate closely to press the GSL to move on a generous political engagement with northern Tamils. The international community should now provide the Sri Lanka government with a set of benchmarks which would clearly set out expectations for how to proceed with reconstruction and push the GSL to treat the Tamils humanely. Menon agreed with the Charge that this especially was a time for the international community to be unified in the signal it sent to Colombo, adding ""This is a huge point. Unless we do it now together, later we'll be catching up and trying to clean up.""
4. (C) Menon shared that he had no current plan to travel to Colombo, but could do so if there was a realistic hope that a visit could achieve tangible results. He noted that High Commissioner Prasad was in Delhi for two days, and that Menon would recommend to Prasad to coordinate with the U.S. Embassy in Colombo on longer-term views for assisting in the post-conflict reconstruction.