...said he was encouraged by the [Hakone] talks and stated that, in his estimation, three headlines emerged from them. First, the Tigers did not want the talks to fall apart. Second, the Tigers want to be perceived as freedom fighters.Third, the Tigers want and need money for development of their part of Sri Lanka
... has provided us a copy of a long-awaited report re the security zones in Jaffna. The report, which was written by a retired Indian general, recommends that the GSL and
Tigers agree to mutual drawdowns of their military positions.
In pursuing this pro-U.S. course, Wickremesinghe has been supported by two dynamic advisers, Minister of Constitutional Affairs G.L. Peiris and Minister of Economic Reform Milinda Moragoda. In general, the Oxford-educated Peiris' focus has been more on cultivating ties with former colonial power Britain and other Commonwealth countries, but he is very pro-U.S. and often visits Washington. More than Peiris', Moragoda's direct focus has been on cultivating relations with the U.S. and with India. Re the U.S., the intelligent, articulate Moragoda is a perfect fit. Born in Washington, D.C, he is a dual national married to an American, with plenty of Washington connections, many from his days as a visiting fellow at the Heritage Foundation and at Harvard. A \"big picture\" person, Moragoda is also highly aware that the U.S. is the most powerful country in the world, and he feels that it is better that Sri Lanka recognize that fact and work within it.
...stated that support for abductions of Muslim businessmen comes from the very top.
...told us he had refused a request to defend the government action in Parliament.
Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission Ananda Coomaraswamy
...was contemplating resignation due to obstruction from the Rajapaksa administration into abductions investigations.
...expressed concern that the President and his two brothers have rendered his human rights and humanitarian access efforts ineffective and that he would not sacrifice his political career to become part of a white wash for the GSL recent human rights violations.
"chief opposition campaign strategist and one-time Rajapaksa confidante Mangala Samaraweera said he was "pleasantly surprised" that General Fonseka believed accountability was important for Sri Lanka"
"noting that he knew Mahinda Rajapaksa intimately and would not put it past him to facilitate an assassination attempt on Fonseka if the campaign increasingly went in the general's favor."
"We assume that at least some of Samaraweera's claims about Fonseka's "liberalism" are exaggerated and meant to impress us. Nevertheless, the general and his agents are making promises that it would be hard for them to walk back."
"[Harsha] De Silva said that 'as an economist' he understood that the government of Sri Lanka needed to institute many economic reforms, but for campaign purposes the opposition needed to back away from the 'neo liberal' reforms attached to the UNP."
"The UNP party is playing a dangerous game supporting General Fonseka, because the Sri Lankan Presidency is very powerful, and it is unclear what economic policies Fonseka would support as President."