US Ambassador endorsed archbishop’s plea for Rajapaksa impunity
A WikiLeaks file dated 2 Oct 2009, classified confidential by the US Ambassador in Colombo Patricia Butenis, shows that the Sinhala Catholic Archbishop in Colombo, Malcolm Ranjith certified Rajapaksa as personally a ‘good man’ and argued in favour of not pressing him on war crimes accountability for it would make him lose grounds to much more extreme elements. The US Ambassador in her cable endorsed the view of the Archbishop on war crimes accountability. Recently the US Asst Secretary of State Robert Blake came out with the same view while briefing Tamil groups in the US. It is a long-felt aspiration among the Eezham Tamil Catholics that Vatican should provide them with a separate Archdiocese, as Sinhala Archbishops sitting in Colombo never addressed their sufferings from their point of view. States in India have their own Archdioceses.
“The archbishop said he believed President Rajapaksa personally was a good man and in the constellation of Sri Lankan politics was a relative moderate,” the US ambassador noted.
“Rajapaksa and his brothers were under great pressure from the Singhalese Buddhist right, and any show of what would be perceived as weakness before the international community could result in their losing ground to much more extreme elements. Indeed, he argued that if something happened to the president there would be “chaos” in Sri Lanka,” the Ambassador said in the cable.
The US Ambassador cited the Archbishop saying “my suggestion is, in order to strengthen democracy in Sri Lanka, don’t push accountability now.”
The Archbishop also argued against economic sanctions as it could lead to revolution from the right or a coup by the military.
When the Ambassador countered the Archbishop that if the Rajapaksas were in fact moderates, they needed to show it in at least a few ways, the Archbishop replied that he was working on it by telling the President that it was important to work with Tamil leaders on reconciliation and to invite the diaspora to help re-build the economy.
Ambassador Butenis in her cable observed and endorsed the following:
“Archbishop Ranjith purportedly is respected by the pope and served as papal nuncio in Indonesia. He also commands considerable authority in Sri Lanka — despite his problems with the Buddhist right — and has a good relationship with the president (whose wife is Catholic). It is certainly true that the president is under great pressure from the Singhalese Buddhist right. It is also arguable that the international community’s pushing too hard on accountability could backfire,” the US Ambassador noted.
How long the Eezham Tamil diaspora in the US and some elite groups working with the US-funded outfits will be deceiving themselves and deceive other Tamils is a question seriously discussed nowadays in the diaspora circles.
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