Ilankai Tamil Sangam

Association of Tamils of Sri Lanka in the USA

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Congressional Hearing on Unrest in Sri Lanka

March 15, 2006
U.S. House International Relations Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific
Holds Hearing on Unrest in Nepal and Sri Lanka

Edited Transcript with Nepal text deleted

The committee will come to order.

On behalf of the subcommittee, I would like to extend a warm welcome to our distinguished administration witness, Don Camp, who is the principal deputy assistant secretary of state for South Asia affairs in the newly expanded Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs.

We welcome you back, and we look forward to a productive relationship with the newest assistant secretary from the bureau, Richard Boucher, who many of us know, and who is a well respected career professional in the department.

Donald Camp
Donald Camp

The subcommittee meets today to review recent developments in two important countries in South Asia, both of whom have been struggling to overcome bitter legacies of domestic unrest that threaten internal stability and economic prosperity in the societies.

Although the origins of the conflicts in Nepal and Sri Lanka are distinct, both present profound humanitarian and political challenges for the region, as well as for the United States and the broader international community.
Nepal text deleted
In Sri Lanka, despite relatively good economic fundamentals and a solid social welfare structure, the country has not taken off as another regional tiger, principally because it remains mired in a multi-decade long civil war. Prospects for a permanent resolution of the conflict appear dim at this moment. Fortunately, eleventh hour efforts by the Norwegian government to broker a new round of negotiations in Geneva late last month helped save the badly battered four-year-old cease-fire agreement from likely collapse.

From a congressional perspective, one has the sense that the assassination of the foreign minister in the summer of 2005, coupled with other politically motivated killings, dramatically eroded support for the current cease-fire agreement among many of the majority Sinhalese people in Sri Lanka. Likewise, one also has the impression that the failure of the government to reach an agreement with the Tamil separatists on a mechanism to provide post-tsunami relief to areas in the north and east of the country, as well as ongoing paramilitary operations against the insurgents, may have convinced the insurgent leadership that Colombo was unlikely to commit to a just and permanent peace.

In this troubling context, we underscore our concern for the people of both countries. We have a number of questions about the situation in Nepal and Sri Lanka and the implications of such for United States policy. We look forward to your testimony and the exchange of views to follow.
Mr. Faleomavaega?

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I certainly commend you for holding this hearing this afternoon and would like to offer my personal welcome to our deputy assistant secretary, Donald Camp, here to testify before us this afternoon.

I think our discussions or hearing this afternoon concerning these countries, Nepal and Sri Lanka, certainly is well overdue.

Mr. Chairman, the Maoist insurgency in Nepal has killed well over 12,000 people since 1996. And the separatist unrest in Sri Lanka has cost some 63,000 lives since 1983. Although these struggles each have different roots, both are of deep concern, not only to the administration, but certainly to us as members of the Congress.
Nepal text deleted
In Sri Lanka, the United States is working with other concerned parties to help maintain a tenuous cease-fire, and in more than 10 years of -- some 10 years of conflict between the government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil, or the LTTE.
The U.S. has designated the LTTE as a foreign terrorist organization. I don't know if that's an accurate characterization, but this will be certainly one of the questions I will raise to Mr. Camp. The Communist Party in Nepal is also listed as other terrorist group.

In February some four years ago, a permanent cease-fire was reached, and generally has been observed by both sides. And in September of 2002, the government in Colombo and the LTTE held the first peace talks in seven years, with LTTE indicating that it was willing to accept autonomy rather than independence. The two sides agreed in principle to seek a solution through a federal structure. However, the situation in Sri Lanka and Nepal remains serious and unresolved. Given both of these issues, Mr. Chairman, I look forward to hearing Secretary Camp's testimony this afternoon. Thank you.

Well, Mr. Camp, let me welcome you. We note that today is the Ides of March.

I think that the new blockade of Nepal's capital and the province in Colombo -- it's an unpropitious day to testify, but please, you're welcome to set forth as you see fit. Without objection, a fuller statement, if you have one, will be placed in the record. But please proceed.

CAMP: Thank you, Mr. Chairman and Mr. Faleomavaega. I appreciate being invited here today to discuss recent developments in Nepal and Sri Lanka.
I'd like to read a short version of my statement for the record.
Replaced with Full Version of text excluding text on Nepal

Internal Unrest in South Asia: Recent Developments in Nepal and Sri Lanka

Donald Camp
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State
South and Central Asian Affairs Statement before the

House Committee on International Relations
Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific Washington, DC
March 15, 2006

Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee, thank you for inviting me here today to discuss recent developments in Nepal and Sri Lanka. These two South Asian nations are both struggling today to confront domestic insurgencies that have placed their institutions and their people at great risk. Nepal text deleted

I turn now to Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka’s long-standing ethnic conflict and fragile peace process continue to cause enormous concern for the United States and the international community. The senseless assassination of Foreign Minister Kadirgamar in August 2005, coupled with an intense presidential campaign, heightened tensions in Sri Lanka throughout the fall of 2005. Following President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s election on November 17, 2005, escalating violence took the lives of Tamil civilians and almost one hundred Sri Lankan security personnel, putting the four-year ceasefire agreement between the Government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) at risk. As the attacks continued, President Rajapaksa came under pressure to respond. To its credit, the government showed significant restraint in the face of these provocations and maintained the ceasefire.

Given the deteriorating situation on the ground, the United States, the European Union, Norway and Japan – the Co-Chairs of the Sri Lanka Donor Group – met several times in 2005 and early 2006 to discuss possible solutions. The Co-Chairs sent strong messages to both the Sri Lankan Government and the LTTE to end the violence and uphold the fragile ceasefire agreement. Norway’s vital role as facilitator of the peace process merits special mention. We and other members of the international community greatly appreciate and fully support the ongoing Norwegian efforts to move Sri Lanka’s peace process forward.

Both Under Secretary for Political Affairs R. Nicholas Burns and Norwegian Peace Envoy and Minister for Development Erik Solheim traveled to Sri Lanka in January. U/S Burns met President Rajapaksa and other senior government officials to urge an end to the violence, a return to negotiations, and the preservation of the ceasefire agreement. Solheim also met with government officials as well as with the LTTE leadership, including its elusive commander Prabhakaran.

As a result of our respective efforts, Sri Lankan Government and LTTE negotiators met in Geneva on February 22 and 23, 2006, marking the first time in over three years the two sides had returned to the negotiating table. The negotiators achieved two significant outcomes that should give the peace process in Sri Lanka a new momentum. First, they agreed to refrain from violence and uphold the ceasefire agreement. The government specifically addressed the problem of armed groups, a serious Tamil grievance, and committed to ensuring that “no armed group or person other than government security forces will carry arms or conduct armed operations.” The LTTE pledged to take “all necessary measures to ensure that there will be no acts of violence against the security forces and police.” Given the difficulty involved in even convening this meeting and seeing it through to a conclusion, we consider it a significant achievement that both sides agreed to meet again in Geneva April 19 – 21.

We welcome the outcome of the Geneva talks and hope that additional progress will be made in April. We are fully aware, however, of the challenges both parties face in order to fulfill their Geneva commitments. The Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission, now led by Sweden, will monitor ceasefire violations in the coming weeks and report on implementation of the ceasefire at the next round of talks in April. We hope both sides will fully implement their commitments to build a level of confidence between them that will yield even more successful results in the next round of talks. We will continue to work with Norway and the other Co-Chairs to keep the pressure on both parties as we head into the April discussions.

While the situation in Sri Lanka remains tenuous, we are hopeful that all parties to the conflict will make serious efforts to bring lasting and stable peace throughout the island. The Government of Sri Lanka is currently focused on the peace process and the next round of ceasefire implementation talks with the LTTE in April. Local government elections are currently scheduled to be held March 30 across the country, including in the north and east.

As for Sri Lanka’s economic outlook, the country’s economy was not as severely affected by the tsunami as initially feared. Growth for 2005 is estimated to be around 5.5 percent, up slightly from 5.4 percent in 2004. As the recovery process continues, however, and large inflows of assistance begin to decrease, the economy will face several key challenges. The primary challenges stem from deteriorating infrastructure, high energy prices, and outdated labor laws. A high and growing oil import bill, continued high inflation, the pace of tsunami reconstruction, uncertainty surrounding the peace process and its effect on the investment climate and subsidy costs also pose significant challenges.

President Rajapaksa has pledged 8 percent annual economic growth. Such a growth rate will require significantly higher investment, and foreign investment is a critical source. Foreign investors have been reluctant to sink funds in Sri Lanka for many of the reasons I just mentioned. Further, the Government of Sri Lanka has not made sufficient efforts to streamline the investment processes. As Ambassador Lunstead has repeatedly stressed, Sri Lanka needs to make it easier to invest there than anywhere else, in order to attract funds and draw on increasing financial interests in the region, driven by India’s continued high levels of growth. While President Rajapaksa claims to want a strong private sector to drive growth, his Government’s policies continue to favor more government intervention in the economy. Our Embassy’s Commercial Section, along with the Commerce Department and other USG agencies, are working with the Sri Lankan authorities to encourage greater market access, intellectual property rights protection, and more transparent government tendering procedures.

Sri Lanka has been selected as a country eligible to receive Millennium Challenge Account assistance for fiscal year 2006. Sri Lanka submitted its compact proposal focusing largely on rural development to the Millennium Challenge Corporation in August 2005 and due diligence is underway, along with negotiation of compact terms. Our agreed timeline with the Government of Sri Lanka is focused on getting to a signed compact during the third quarter of 2006.

Regarding human rights and humanitarian issues, despite the ongoing conflict, Sri Lanka is a fully functioning, stable democracy with strong democratic institutions and traditions, including freedom of the press. The November 2005 presidential election was deemed by international monitors to be free and fair, although an LTTE boycott of the elections prevented voters in LTTE-controlled areas from going to the polls. The U.S. Embassy in Colombo closely observed the elections, deploying eight teams to visit different locations around the country, including regions under LTTE control. USAID supported the two largest domestic monitoring organizations, which deployed more than 20,000 domestic monitors.

Reported human rights violations in Sri Lanka are largely related to the ongoing domestic conflict: government security forces, LTTE cadres, and other armed groups have all been accused of abuses. Sri Lankan police and security forces have been accused of torture and links to paramilitary groups participating in armed attacks. In one recent high-profile case, employees of the Tamil Relief Organization (TRO) were reportedly abducted by armed groups and some were later released. Immediately upon hearing the news of the abductions, Ambassador Lunstead contacted high-level Sri Lankan government officials to express our concerns. Our Embassy released a press statement, reinforcing our concerns and urging restraint. The Sri Lankan government is investigating the incident and our Embassy continues to follow developments on the case.

The LTTE has engaged in politically motivated killings, disappearances, torture, arbitrary arrest and detention, denial of fair public trail, arbitrary interference with privacy, and denial of freedom of speech, press, assembly and association. We are particularly concerned about ongoing LTTE recruitment of child soldiers, in spite of its pledge to end such activity.

Religious freedom is a critical issue for Sri Lanka’s Buddhist, Hindu, Christian, and Muslim populations. The freedom to practice one’s religion is protected under law. There have been occasional reports of harassment of Christians. Anti-conversion legislation introduced by a Buddhist extremist party under the previous government did not pass and is not expected to be re-introduced. A delegation from the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom visited Sri Lanka in late February.

Since mid-December 2005, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has monitored the flight of nearly 500 Sri Lankan refugees to Tamil Nadu, India, and the internal displacement of 6,000 families from the Jaffna Peninsula and the eastern district of Trincomalee. UNHCR will not resume repatriation activities from India until the situation in Sri Lanka shows improvement. UNHCR was encouraged by the sharp drop in the number of newly arriving refugees following the announcement of the Geneva peace talks. Camp conditions as of February 2006 were stable, and a major influx of refugees is not expected.

Tsunami relief and reconstruction efforts continue to be among the USG’s highest priorities. The U.S. Government provided assistance totaling $134.6 million in Sri Lanka. Immediately following the disaster, USAID funded emergency services, such as temporary shelter, food, water, relief supplies, water purification, health surveillance, psycho-social services and protection for children, and cash-for-work programs that infused money into local economies. Since June, USG efforts have focused on reconstruction, including large scale infrastructure projects, workforce development, and sewage management. Innovative means to engage youth in reconstruction efforts and using these projects to bridge ethnic differences are, moreover, contributing to peace building efforts. Recently, 75 young adults from different ethnic groups worked together to produce films examining the linkages between underdevelopment, violence, conflict and tsunami reconstruction in the South. Additional funding has been directed to livelihoods activities, small-scale infrastructure, good governance, information dissemination, and urban planning. A USG-funded anti-corruption program was launched in 2005 to enhance oversight of tsunami rehabilitation programs. After completing a strategic assessment, this program will provide technical assistance and training to the Auditor General’s Department’s tsunami auditing teams and to the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery and Corruption’s legal and investigative staff.

Assistance has been unevenly distributed in LTTE-controlled areas in the north and east. An agreement between former President Kumaratunga’s government and the LTTE to coordinate relief in Tamil areas through the Post-Tsunami Operational Management Structure (P-TOMS) mechanism was never implemented, because parts of the arrangement were found to be unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. President Rajapaksa has created a new agency to oversee tsunami reconstruction and has announced a new program that seeks to replace the defunct P-TOMS.

Mr. Chairman, we are deeply committed to achieving peace and stability in Nepal and Sri Lanka. The President’s remarks on Nepal following his meeting with Indian Prime Minister Singh highlight the level of importance to us of these issues. We will continue to work on the ground in South Asia with our friends and allies, through international fora such as the Co-Chairs group in Sri Lanka, and through the extensive outreach programs of our Embassies in Kathmandu and Colombo to help the Nepalese and Sri Lankan people overcome the considerable obstacles before them on their path to peace and prosperity.

Thank you again for the opportunity to appear before you. I would be pleased to answer your questions.

Let me first ask a bit about Nepal, because while there are similarities of trauma, there are no similarities of exact circumstance, and there are no ties that are of any significance between the two countries of Sri Lanka and Nepal.
Nepal text deleted
Well, as one who was in the region shortly after the tsunami, one heard a lot of comment about the traumas of the tsunami in Sri Lanka and Indonesia, and massive questioning, and some with a great deal of hopefulness, that the idea of dealing with a nature-made disaster might precipitate dealing with manmade traumas.

Indonesia -- it appears that that very much is the case, and we're all extraordinarily impressed with the manner of the government and the opposition that moved to what appears to be a modus vivendi and maybe even reconciliation.

It appears in Sri Lanka that isn't the case, and that if anything, things have gotten more tense in the last year or year-and-a-half. Some of it may relate to the manner in which assistance in the wake of the tsunami occurred. Some may be simply in the wake of intransigence of the Tamils to accept any jurisdiction of the central government. Some may simply be a bizarre circumstance that humanity wasn't looked at first as humanity, but more in terms of the conflict that was ongoing.
I would assume that your office in your Department of State, that there is a lot of discourse that's gone on in the differences between Sri Lanka and Indonesia, and why one worked and one didn't.

Do you have any preliminary conclusions? And are there lessons that still can be obtained, say, from Indonesia that might be applied to Sri Lanka?

CAMP: I would say that we had high hopes, in fact, immediately after the tsunami, that the same dynamic would be in effect in Sri Lanka. And, in fact, there was a brief period when I think the whole nation came together, still reeling from the tsunami disaster.

Unfortunately, that was not sustained. And I don't have a very good explanation of why that didn't happen.

Obviously, there was a real attempt, I would say, by the government of Sri Lanka in Colombo to find a way to make sure that the north realized that assistance would be provided equitably, because that was the first question that arose: are we going to get our share? We were so heavily hit, the LTTE said, we need our share of reconstruction assistance.

There was a confused effort to put together a mechanism that would guarantee such equitable distribution. It was a long and tough negotiation. And when the two sides finally agreed, a Sri Lankan constitutional court ruled the arrangement unlawful, basically, so it never went into effect.

That's not to say that assistance wasn't delivered to the LTTE- controlled areas in the north. It was. NGOs are very active up there. There was aid delivered to the affected...

The U.N. is very active...

I'm sorry?

The U.N. is more active up there...

The U.N. is active. The World Food Program.

We do not -- we have legal constraints on providing assistance to the LTTE, obviously, because of the foreign terrorist organization status. But even -- we provide assistance to NGOs, and they are, as I say, quite active.

I appreciate that. I will tell you, I am a strong supporter of the Department of State. But as a member of Congress, I was not pleased that after requests to visit the north, the embassy refused to arrange for it.

And I will tell you, I was very offended at that. I thought it was a sign from the United States government that was very imperfect.

But I am -- if I were to have bet which country would have the greater hopes of reconciling at the time, I would have bet on Sri Lanka over Indonesia. And yet, it appears Indonesians have moved rather remarkably.

And I think we all are still very hopeful of the role that Norway is playing. And I think as a Congress, we all should make a point of tipping our hat to Norwegian goodwill and good efforts in this regard.

I agree, sir. And they've taken a lot of abuse, frankly, for their efforts, and we think that they can only be commended for their perseverance and their willingness to commit their own resources to this peace effort.

Mr. Faleomavaega?

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I don't know whether to suggest how we might begin in terms of our dialogue on these two countries. Conventional understanding of any given situation in terms of our own interests, as in any country or in any region, is a measurement of our economic and our military strategic interests. Obviously, neither of these two areas are very prominent in terms of our participation.

Have we been asked by the leaders of these two countries for assistance in terms of how to break the stalemate or the impasse, in terms of what has happened to these two countries?
Nepal text deleted

Has the administration made a similar effort to what we've done in North Korea in calling a multilateral effort, like we've done against North Korea? Have we done a similar -- why haven't we enunciated a similar policy, multilateralism, which is something that I certainly support.

But you mentioned something about Norway. I guess they're the ones taking the lead in trying to provide some kind of arbitration, if you will, in doing this.
We don't seem to be taking the lead in doing this kind of effort. Are we...

Well, in Sri Lanka the Norwegians have taken the lead, voluntarily and with our enthusiastic support.

In Nepal, I would say that we have certainly made efforts to engage multilaterally -- India, E.U., the U.K. We've talked to China. We've talked to Japan. There is a common goal. There is no formal structure as there has been in Sri Lanka.
And that's something that we could certainly look at. We're always reviewing our policy toward Nepal. We have not, so far, found that to be the most productive means.

I would say that India is probably the biggest player here, just because they are the big country next door.

Well, that...

They have an important responsibility.

That was going to be my next question concerning Sri Lanka. Quite obviously, India is probably the most dominate country as far as Sri Lanka is concerned. Have they taken any initiative, similar to Norway, to intervene constructively in trying to make an effort to be an arbitrator, or be a help to this Tamil Tiger thing that has been going on now for how many years? I mean...

For, well...

... for the 16,000 people...

... the insurgency broke out in 1983. India actually made an effort to get actively involved in the late '80s with something called the Indian peacekeeping force. That did not work out well for India. They have since shied away from active involvement. And that has been something that we have discussed with them on a number of occasions.
But the LTTE, in fact, was responsible for the killing of Rajiv Gandhi, the prime minister at the time. So, they have been severely affected by the crisis there. They have preferred to play a very behind-the-scenes role.

Well, Mr. Camp, I think probably -- and I don't want to sound somewhat fatalistic, the idea that five years from now we'll be holding another hearing on these same two countries, and we're going to be asking the same questions.
And I feel somewhat -- with all the resources and all the availability of what we can do as a country to be helpful to these two nations, my question is, are we really putting our best efforts to be helpful -- to arbitrate, to give them our best legal minds, or whatever it is that they need -- so we can be proactive in that respect?

I don't want to be giving the impression that, well, because they don't have any nukes over there, it's not an interest to our country. I'd kind of like to think that Nepal and Sri Lanka are just as important to us, as far as diplomacy is concerned, as any other country.

But my question is, are we really making a sincere effort to be helpful to those two countries? That's what I'm trying to dig into.

It will not surprise you that I will say yes, we are making great efforts. But let me also add that, I think you will see -- Congress will see -- an increasing emphasis by this administration on South Asia in general. I mean, we've just seen the president's trip to the region. I really do thing that...

Wouldn't it have been better if he had went to Nepal himself? Or Sri Lanka?

I think Afghanistan, Pakistan and India was plenty.

I'm asking (inaudible) an impossibility.

But there will really be an emphasis on South Asia. And I think it will have an impact on our efforts in Nepal and Sri Lanka.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Well, I would tell the gentleman, the king might be descended from a god, but from this committee's perspective, we think that the ranking member is descended from the Sage of Samoa.

You should make a visit there, Mr. Chairman, maybe, one of these days.

Let me come back a little bit on the role of the United States. We're obviously a large country with some interest in the region and some historical ties.

Other countries also have large ties, actually. Japan has a particular relationship to Sri Lanka, perhaps less to Nepal, but wants to play a role there.

I've often thought, internally and sometimes externally, process is our most important product -- kind of a take on GE. And it strikes me that the best that can be said for United States engagement in both Nepal and Sri Lanka is that we play kind of a consultative role.

And so, one of the great questions is, do you set up process types of circumstances that have some hope of involving all the parties?

Now, to a degree, in Sri Lanka, we have the Norwegians, and that is a very strong plus.

In Nepal, one doesn't sense any kind of formal process. We only have consultations to talk about. And there are many types and varieties of processes that one can establish.

But I hope American diplomacy is not such that thinks that we are the process. And the consultative manner that we're going about things makes me think that that is the case.

And I am one that is very open to involving lots of parties, some of whom we may feel have rival interests in the world. But the great interest we have is what's good for the people. And what's good for the people is, obviously, a sane government, because without such there is virtually no hope of economic advancement, particularly in Nepal.

And so, if I were to advise you at all -- and it's kind of presumptuous to consider advising -- it is, think in terms of one precise thought. And that is, what process can be established that might reach to some sort of new steps on all sides? And once you have a process thought through, then you apply strategies through it.
I believe that there has been a lack of commitment to new thoughts and process. And I would just throw that out as strongly as I can. That process might involve the U.N.; it might not. It might involve five, six, seven country groupings; it might involve three, four, five.

It might involve special interlocutors. And it obviously has to be something that is of a nature that parties to the conflict are willing to give some credence to. And so, it's conceivable you make no sense of establishing process until you get a sense from parties what they're willing to think through.

But I would put an absolute imperative on the "P" word, from which other things can then uphold. And I stress this because, I mean, very thoughtfully you noted that virtually the entire international community has a consensus of what they would like to see happen in Nepal. That puts it in a much more manageable international context than many other problems in the world, and in a manageable way.

There does not appear to be stark religious differentiations. There appears to be a traditional power struggle and traditional angst that's arisen from imperfect governance.

But I think that is where I would put all my stakes at this time. Now, does that seem unreasonable?

It seems eminently reasonable, sir. And let me just -- well, it's certainly not presumptuous to offer advice; we welcome it. And I want to assure you, we are looking actively for ways that we can influence the situation, looking for new ways to approach the problem in Nepal.

We realize that one year after the king's February 1st action, that not much has moved. We want to make a difference here, and we will look at any way we can to make that difference.

So, thank you, and I promise you we'll take a serious look at the process.

Fair enough.

In Sri Lanka, we have just a completely different thing. And we all know there are outside additions to the dilemma as well as inside. Some of them are quite understandable; some, I assume the State Department's uncomfortable about.
Would you like to go into any of that?

I'm sorry. Could you be a little more specific about...

The issue that there appears to be outside support for activities that are understandable. On the other hand, do they help stabilize or destabilize the situation?

There's outside support for the LTTE in terms of outside fundraising, active involvement in the Tamil diaspora around the world. In that context, I'd like to draw attention to a Human Rights Watch report that just came out this week, I think, that talked about the kinds of activities that the LTTE carries out in places like Canada to extort money for their activities.

I'm very glad that attention is brought to this. They're forbidden by law from fundraising in this country, and we are enforcing that. But that kind of thing needs to stop.

As far as the government is concerned, we make no bones about it; we support the government vis-a-vis the LTTE. And we're providing a limited amount of military assistance.

The government itself has been accused of supporting armed groups outside the security forces. I can't confirm that, and I would not want to verify it. But they committed in the last round of talks to make sure that no armed groups could attack the LTTE outside the cease-fire agreements, or in conformity with the cease-fire agreement.

I don't know if that answered your question.

Well, it did.

I want to just raise one of the things happening in world affairs, which is kind of a vision issue.

Recently, six months ago, I was in Mongolia. And I was very impressed with the foreign assistance at the private level coming back, that is, remittances, that seem to be making a very impressive impact on economic development.

And the notion of a reconciliation with the terrific pride that appears to exist of Tamil residents around the world with their people, could make such a difference. I raise this because, as one reads of support that goes back for arms, wouldn't it be phenomenal to have support go back for economic development and the real upgrading of Tamil society from an economic perspective?

And here, I know there are provisions of law that apply, and some based upon how governments interpret things. But one of the things that I'd like to think through and ask your advice on is that, when we can't be directly involved, there are principled reasons that that sometimes is the case, but there are disadvantages.
My sense is, I mean, from a bare few days in Nepal, I was extremely -- excuse me, in Sri Lanka -- I was extremely impressed with the United Nations role in Sri Lanka, and disproportionately relative to everybody else, it is playing a role in the Tamil-occupied areas.

I think it's reason, frankly, for U.S. support of the U.N. But it underscores that it's good to have representation from the West that's of a nature that's interested in helping people, unrelated to political movements.

And I'd frankly hope that this would be an understood aspect of American assistance on the tsunami. And in that regard, I can't tell you that I am impressed that assistance from the United States would become exclusively tied up in a one-dimensional approach based upon Sri Lankan law, that as I would have hoped we would have more ways of helping in the Tamil area than simply, exclusively the Sinhalese area.

Would you care to comment on that?

Well, I'd be glad to.

Certainly, we are contributors, for instance, to the Asian Development Bank -- generous contributors. Asian Development Bank has financed the main highway from Colombo up to Jaffna, which goes right through the LTTE-controlled area. So in that sense, the ADB has played a part in developing infrastructure that helps bring the country together.

After the tsunami, we have committed $135 million for reconstruction and rehabilitation. A lot of that is going to, for instance, a major infrastructure project on the east coast, which is an area that is shared by Sinhalese, Tamil and Muslim almost equally.

We are certainly not tying our assistance only to one part of the country. We're doing everything we can to make sure that that money is expended as widely as possible.

We are constrained by not Sri Lankan law, but actually by U.S. law, which prohibits material assistance to the LTTE. To the extent that we can, we're making sure that that aid is spread as broadly as possible.

Yes. Well, I appreciate that. All I'm stressing is the awkwardness of, you have people-to-people and human relations, as well as political relations. And there is no way whatsoever that the United States Congress can condone assassinations of political leaders. And that becomes a very difficult circumstance.

But by the same time, it's impossible to condone ignoring children in difficulty, through no fault of their own. I'm not as convinced that we have, as a government, figured out exactly how we relate on a people-to-people level in these circumstances, recognizing that our government has true constraints under our own law.

We have an additional member here. While Brad settles down, I just have a couple more questions I would like to ask Secretary Camp.

I'm aware that Japan and the United States are the primary donors to the Asian Development Bank. Could you cite for the record what percentage of the total assets the U.S. funds for the Asian Development Bank?

No, sir. I'm afraid I don't have that number at my fingertips. I'll have to get back to you on that.

The percentage of U.S. -- what percentage of ADB resources the United States contributes?


I would not want to hazard a guess without...

Could you put that for the record?

I would be happy to.

And I'd like to ask the same for the International Monetary Fund. Also for the World Bank. Those seem to be the regional institutions that I know we do play a very significant role in providing assets and funding, for which the world doesn't know.


And is not aware of.

Are there other regional organizations that the U.S. is a sponsoring state in this region?

There's one, actually, the Colombo Plan. It's on a much smaller scale, and we contribute a relatively small amount. But it is headquartered in Colombo. It does work in things like anti-narcotics, and so forth.

I would also add that -- what I should cite particularly is private NGOs, things like Save the Children and Catholic Relief Services, where U.S. private individuals contribute enormous amounts. And they are among the major donors in Sri Lanka, particularly, post- tsunami. And they have been very good about providing assistance everywhere and providing assistance equitably.

Chairman Leach had mentioned earlier about this magic word that I was trying to dig out of you, and that is process.

I know that one of the initiatives that the administration had taken, where the president has appointed Karen Hughes as the undersecretary for public diplomacy, I sure wish we would have done that five years ago rather than doing it now, in terms of re-tracking our situation, in terms of defining exactly what our foreign policy is towards -- not only towards other countries, but towards other regions of the world.

It's not a simple task, as I'm certain, in terms of trying to define what that process is, whether it be applicable to Nepal or to Sri Lanka. But it certainly gives rise to exactly what role does the United States have to play in this part of the world?
Quite obviously, the president's personal visit to India underscores a very significant change in our own foreign policy towards this region of the world, when you talk about nuclear energy, when you talk about the Non-Proliferation Treaty. I mean, there's no question that it does have global implications.

But when we bring it down to the specifics of these countries, Nepal and Sri Lanka, what does it do for the United States in terms of what benefit do we gain from this, by trying to resolve an ongoing problem that has been going on for years?

Is there any given indication in terms of how the king in Nepal is trying to -- is it really the Maoists that seems to give him the worst problem in trying to resolve the crisis there, or any other factors?

Let me first say that I think that one thing that our years of involvement in Nepal and Sri Lanka have gained us is a real appreciation in both countries for the humanitarian and the positive motives of the United States in both countries. No one thinks that we have ulterior motives in either country.

In Nepal we've had Peace Corps for -- or we had Peace Corps -- for 40 years. Unfortunately, it had to be withdrawn a couple of years ago for security reasons. But the Peace Corps has an enviable reputation in Nepal.

We have spent many millions in Nepal over the years fighting infectious diseases and building better health clinics, and so forth. We have a very high reputation in Nepal.

Same thing is true in Sri Lanka, especially post-tsunami. I think there's a real appreciation for what the United States government and people have contributed.
The whole question of what is -- the question you asked, I think is, what is the king attempting to do? And who is he confronted with? And I would say that the Maoists -- from our point of view -- the Maoists are the real crisis that are affecting Nepal right now. That has to be dealt with.

But the path to confronting and defeating the Maoists is not merely military, but has to involve engaging the political parties, engaging the political class and developing a united front of what I would call the legitimate political actors in Nepal. They're the ones who have to confront the Maoists.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Mr. Camp.

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