Impression though that usg protest however strenuous

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impression, though, that USG protest however strenuous the exhortations by Ambassador Blake to end disappearances and attacks on journalists and civil society —“would only go so far.” 111 Senior SLG political and military leaders understood that they would not face serious penalties or real political costs if they continued fighting the war in this way. The poor timing of a transition in U.S. presidential administrations in early 2009 contributed to an incomplete diplomatic staff being in place in Sri Lanka and a lack of assertiveness in policy-making when it w as most needed. Following President Barack Obama’s assumption of office in late January, appointments of State Department officials occurred over the following two to three months. This resulted in gaps in personnel on the ground in Sri Lanka as well as a lack of comprehensive policy guidance during a critical period. The USG should have not only called out the SLG’s violence against civilians and human rights abuses, but it should have encouraged other governments that had invested in Sri Lanka for example, the co- 110 Ondaatjie, A. and P. Tighe. 2006. Sri Lanka Rejects Report Blaming Army for Killing Aid Workers. Bloomberg News. 30 Aug. Accessed 16 Jul. 2014. See also Niland 2014, p. 6. All seventeen of the Action Contre la Faim (ACF) workers in Muttur were found dead on August 6, 2006, murdered execution-style in their agency compound following the Sri Lankan army’s advance on the Eastern province. An estimated 500 civilians died in Muttur the same week. 111 Interview with Alan Keenan.
35 chairs of the peace negotiations 112 to condemn the violence in strong terms and use their leverage to affect government decision-making. In particular, Japan had political leverage because it provided considerable aid to the SLG, including as much as $275.9 million in 2006 and $119.7 million in 2008. 113 In 2008, only 22.7 percent of foreign assistance to Sri Lanka from all donors which totaled $441 million was allocated for humanitarian aid, leaving ample opportunity to make considerable assistance funds conditional on changes in government action. Finally, analysts warned against the potential danger of the USG falling into “engagement traps” set by the SLG as it prosecuted the war with increasingly illegal and murderous methods. 114 An example is the Consultative Committee on Humanitarian Affairs (CCHA), an inter-agency task force established by the SLG and designed to ensure that humanitarian assistance would reach IDPs; it comprised officials from the government, the UN, and other humanitarian agencies, and representatives of the diplomatic community, including the US. The Committee was initiated as a way to coordinate humanitarian assistance during the military campaign in the East, when hundreds of thousands of Sri Lankans were displaced. 115 The CCHA was chaired by the SLG’s Ministry of Disaster Management and Human Rights and attended by other government ministries.

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