Turning to the question of how the GSL could accomodate some form of talks with the LTTE (likely through an intermediary), Menon acknowledged that the space for such discussions was small...
202476, 4/15/2009 15:49,09NEWDELHI743, Embassy New Delhi, CONFIDENTIAL, 09NEWDELHI327, "VZCZCXRO0559OO RUEHBI RUEHCI RUEHDBU RUEHLH RUEHPWDE RUEHNE #0743 1051549ZNY CCCCC ZZHO 151549Z APR 09FM AMEMBASSY NEW DELHITO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6178INFO RUEHLM/AMEMBASSY COLOMBO IMMEDIATE 1680RUCNCLS/ALL SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA COLLECTIVE PRIORITYRUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 7565RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 6216RUEHNY/AMEMBASSY OSLO PRIORITY 0359RUEHOT/AMEMBASSY OTTAWA PRIORITY 0813RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 1650RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO PRIORITY 6264RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS PRIORITYRUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 7864","C O N F I D E N T I A L NEW DELHI 000743
E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/15/2019 TAGS: PREL, PGOV, PHUM, PTER, CE, IN SUBJECT: FOREIGN SECRETARY MENON ON END GAME IN SRI LANKA
REF: A. NEW DELHI 327 B. COLOMBO
Classified By: Charge d'Affaires Peter Burleigh. Reasons: 1.4 (B and D )
1. (C) In an April 15 meeting, Indian Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon reviewed with Ambassador Burleigh the current state of Indo-Sri Lankan discussions as the conflict in northern Sri Lanka reaches a conclusion. Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Bogollagama was in New Delhi April 15 for meetings with Foreign Ministry officials and had made clear the Sri Lankan government did not want a UN Envoy involved in resolving the conflict with the LTTE, nor was the GSL interested now in direct negotiations with the LTTE or in a cease-fire.
2. (C) Menon said the GOI had advised Sri Lanka against rejecting all such proposals out of hand and had offered a suggestion that the GSL consider offering an amnesty to all but the hard core of the LTTE. He judged that the GSL may be ""coming around"" to this idea, but said there were clearly questions about what constituted the core of the organization and what modalities would be used to make such an offer. Menon said that UNSYG's Chief of Staff Vijay Nambiar planned a low key visit to Sri Lanka that was primarily focused on the UN humanitarian operations. Nambiar, who will arrive on April 15, planned to meet with the Sri Lanka government, Ambassador Blake, the Indian High Commissioner and the Chinese, according to Menon.
3. (C) Turning to the question of how the GSL could accomodate some form of talks with the LTTE (likely through an intermediary), Menon acknowledged that the space for such discussions was small and flagged President Rajapaksa's electoral considerations as militating against anything that could be viewed as a concession to the LTTE. ""Quiet diplomacy"" outside of Sri Lanka faced serious challenges and the Sri Lankan government would have to ""be dragged, kicking and screaming"" to talks.
4. (C) As for the LTTE, Menon said India's view was that the group was sending conflicting signals and there was a real question as to who spoke for Prabhakaran. The GOI judged that some members of the Tamil Diaspora were in touch with those around Prabhakaran, including his son Charles Anthony, but it was an open question whether such Diaspora figures could speak authoritatively for him. Menon also questioned whether Prabhakaran understood the situation he faced. He said that Prabhakaran alone lacked the ability to prevent Tamil refugees from fleeing the safe zone, so that indicated to the GOI that there were still those in the LTTE who shared Prabhakaran's willingness to risk their lives and those of many others in a final showdown.
5. (C) Menon dismissed the possibility of direct Indian involvement in negotiations between the LTTE and the Sri Lankan government, conceding that India's own ongoing elections made such efforts impossible. For now, India's role would be limited to providing relief supplies through the UN World Food Program. He asked whether the U.S. was interested in such talks and said India would think about participation, perhaps with other states under UN auspices, in an effort to obtain a peaceful conclusion to the conflict.