WikiLeak: Arms Procurement From North Korea And Iran
In the latest WikiLeak, Sri Lanka’s Lanka Logistics Company has been accused of trying to procure weapons from Iran and North Korea in 2009, a move in contravention of UN sanctions against the regimes. This state owned company falls under the purview of Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa.
It is not clear whether the deal went through, but US objections in October of 2009 were strong enough for them to threaten broad sanctions against Sri Lanka. In December of 2009, a plane was detained in Thailand which held rocket propelled grenades, missiles and missile launchers. The crew reported that they had stopped in North Korea and were transiting through Sri Lanka.
Lanka Logistics is a procurement company operating under the Ministry of Defence. In a 2007 government Gazette, the company was created by outlawing private arms procurement and placing all procurement under the Secretary of Defence, Gotabaya Rajapaksa.
It drew the attention of US intelligence when they received reports that the company was attempting to procure arms from North Korea and Iran. In a cable released by the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten, the US State Department said, “Given North Korea’s continued destabilizing activities, and the international reaction to those activities, now is not the time for business as usual with North Korea.”
They also added, “We ask that you halt the purchase of all military equipment from Iran. Paragraph 5 of UNSCR 1747 provides that Iran “shall not supply, sell or transfer…any arms or related materiel, and that all States shall prohibit the procurement of such items from Iran by their nationals…” When contacted by Foreign Policy online, Sri Lanka’s U.N. Ambassador, Palitha Kohona said “At the time, the government issued a denial, a total denial to these allegations. I think the position remains the same.”
The U.S. Cable On Sri Lanka Arms Procurement
1. (U) This message contains an action request, please see
2. (S/NF) The Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) is negotiating
the procurement of Lethal Military Equipment (LME) from North
Korea and Iran. Recent intelligence reports indicate that a
Sri Lankan company responsible for the acquisition of
equipment and services for the Sri Lankan military is
negotiating the purchase of RPG-7 Rocket Propelled Grenade
Launchers (RPGs) and Multiple Rocket Launchers (MRLs) from North Korea´s primary weapons trading firm. Some of these proposed arms imports appear to violate UNSCR 1718. We have also received information that Iran´s Ministry of Defense Logistics Export Center (MODLEX) has recently provided a multimillion-dollar quote to the Sri Lankan Navy for the
installation of naval equipment. Moreover, an Iranian
Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Force element located in
Sri Lanka provided details to an Iranian shipping company for
the sale of weapons to the Sri Lanka Army. Post is requested
to deliver the talking points in paragraph 6 and report any
GOSL reactions. End Summary.
3. (S/NF) This is not the first time Sri Lanka has attempted
to purchase LME from countries under UN Security Council
sanctions. In August 2006, the USG demarched the GOSL
regarding its interest in acquiring pyrotechnic and armament
spare parts for training aircraft, as well as hundreds of
weapons from Iran (Ref A).
4. (S/NF) As part of our ongoing dialogue on
nonproliferation, we would like once again to express our
concern over Sri Lanka´s potential procurement of lethal
military equipment from Iran and North Korea. We also want
to remind the GOSL of possible sanctions under the Iran,
North Korea, and Syria Nonproliferation Act (INKSNA). The
INKSNA requires regular reports to Congress identifying
individuals and entities who have transferred to or acquired
from Iran, North Korea, or Syria certain items related to
weapons of mass destruction, ballistic or cruise missiles or
advanced conventional weapons.
5. (S//REL SRI LANKA) Post is requested to draw upon the
talking points in paragraph 6 with appropriate host
government officials. Post should pursue the following
– Remind the GOSL that any arms purchase contracts entered
into by Sri Lankan entities with North Korea or Iran, if
implemented, could trigger sanctions against the entities
involved under the Iran, North Korea, and Syria
Nonproliferation Act (INKSNA).
– Recall that paragraph 8(b) of United Nations Security
Council Resolution 1718 requires member states to prohibit
the procurement of certain military-related items, including
LME such as combat aircraft, battle tanks, large caliber
artillery systems, or missile systems, or related materiel
including spare parts, and that any import of such items by
Sri Lanka would constitute a violation of UNSCR 1718. In
addition, paragraph 8(c) of UNSCR 1718 requires UN Member
States to prevent transfer from North Korea of any technical
training, advice, services or assistance related to these
items. The full list of items prohibited by UNSCR 1718 can
be found on the UN´s web site
(www.un.org/sc/committees/1718/xport list.shtml). Items on
these lists (identified in Security Council documents
S/2006/814, S/2006/815, and S/2006/853) are also prohibited
for transfer regardless of their intended use.
– Emphasize our concern that Lanka Logistics and
Technologies Ltd may attempt to circumvent export controls on
transfers with North Korea.
– Request the GOSL to investigate Lanka Logistics and
Technologies Ltd and provide the United States with the
results of its investigation as soon as possible.
– Request the GOSL to provide information on whether its
Navy is negotiating with MODLEX $11.4 million for rockets and
rocket launchers that can be installed on naval equipment.
– Request the GOSL to provide clarification on negotiations
with Iran on procurement of weapons and defense equipment for the Sri Lankan Army in the amount of $40 million.
– Note that under 1747, Iran is prohibited from exporting
arms and states are to prohibit the procurement of such items
from Iran by their nationals.
– Urge GOSL authorities to stop any military negotiations
with North Korea or Iran involving LME or sensitive
6. (SECRET//REL SIR LANKA) Note that the first four bullets
in the Talking Points are derived from intelligence and must
be used verbatim. These points are bracketed and flagged as
Begin Talking Points.
(BEGIN VERBATIM POINTS:
– We have information that Lanka Logistics and Technologies
Ltd has been negotiating the purchase of RPG-7 Rocket
Propelled Grenade Launchers (RPGs) and Multiple Rocket
Launchers (MRLs) from the Korea Mining Development Company (KOMID), North Korea´s primary weapons trading firm.
– Our information indicates that this sale has not been completed. — We also have information that Iran´s Ministry of Defense Logistics Export Center (MODLEX), in December 2007, provided the Sri Lankan Navy a quote of $11.4 million for rockets and rocket launchers that could be installed on Sri Lankan naval equipment. The offer did not include the cost of installation and training, which could be provided at an additional cost.
– We also understand that an Iranian Islamic Revolutionary
Guard Corps Qods Force element located in Sri Lanka, in
February 2008, provided details to an Iranian shipping
company for the procurement of weapons to the Sri Lanka Army. The total cost of the weapons and defense equipment totaled approximately $40 million. END VERBATIM POINTS.)
– Lanka Logistics and Technologies Ltd., according to your
own press, handles the acquisition of equipment and services
for the Sri Lankan military. — Any arms purchase contracts with North Korea or Iran, if implemented, could trigger sanctions against the entities involved under the Iran, North Korea, and Syria Nonproliferation Act (INKSNA).
– Under INKSNA, the United States is required to report to
Congress persons and companies who have transferred to or
acquired from North Korea, Iran, or Syria goods, services or
technology controlled by multilateral nonproliferation export
control regimes, specifically the Missile Technology Control
Regime, the Australia Group, the Chemical Weapons Convention, the Nuclear Suppliers Group, and the Wassenaar Arrangement.– MRLS, RPGs, and other weapons and munitions are controlled under the Wassenaar Arrangement and are therefore reportable under the INKSNA.– Given North Korea’s continued destabilizing activities, and the international reaction to those activities, now is not the time for business as usual with North Korea.– We ask that you halt the purchase of all military
equipment from Iran. Paragraph 5 of UNSCR 1747 provides that Iran “shall not supply, sell or transfer…any arms or
related materiel, and that all States shall prohibit the
procurement of such items from Iran by their nationals…”
– Moreover, DIO is an entity subject to the asset freeze
provisions in paragraph 12 of UNSCR 1737, so any goods
received from the DIO or any payments made to the DIO must be frozen under the provisions of the resolution.– We urge you to investigate the above activities and share
with us at your earliest convenience the results of your
investigation.– Beyond these cases, we urge Sri Lanka to cease all cooperation with North Korea, Iran, and Syria on goods and technologies controlled under the nonproliferation export control regimes and United Nations Security Council
Resolutions we have cited.
– We look forward to our continued cooperation on this and
other related matters. (If Asked) — Sanctions that could be imposed under INKSNA include:
a. No department or agency of the United States Government
or U.S. company may procure, or enter into any contract for
procurement of any goods, technology, or services from
b. No department or agency of the United States Government
or U.S. company may provide any assistance to them, and they
shall not be eligible to participate in any assistance
program of the United States Government;
c. No sales to them of any item on the United States
Munitions List are permitted and all sales to them of any
defense articles, defense services, or design and
construction services under the Arms Export Control Act are
d. No new individual licenses shall be granted for the
transfer to them of items controlled under the Export
Administration Act of 1979 or the Export Administration
Regulations, and existing such licenses are suspended.
End Talking Points.
7. (U) Washington appreciates Post´s assistance on this
matter. Department Point of Contact is xxxx. Please slug all replies to
ISN/CATR, EAP/K and SCA/INS.