28 September, 2020

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WikiLeaks: Karu said he and his colleagues will be named ministers

By Colombo Telegraph-

“Jayasuriya told the Ambassador that he is leading a group of 17 reformists within the UNP and hopes he and some of his colleagues will be named ministers when President Rajapaksa announces a new cabinet, probably after a January 19 SLFP executive committee meeting. He noted that the UNP members who accept government posts will retain their party affiliation.”the US Ambassador Robert O. Blake informed Washington eleven days before Karu Jayasuriya  joined Mahinda Rajapaksa government with a group of UNP parliamentarians.

Karu was confident the majority of UNP members would support the government within parliament, and together, the two parties could convince the bulk of voters to accept a devolution proposal to bring a peaceful end to Sri Lanka's ethnic conflict

The Colombo Telegraph found the related leaked cable from the WikiLeak database. The cable is classified as “CONFIDENTIAL” and written on January 17, 2007 by the US Ambassador to Colombo Robert O. Blake.

Ambassador wrote “Jayasuriya pointed out that the MoU so far has produced few tangible results, other than assuring UNP support for the government’s budget. He criticized party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe for signing the MoU without insisting on an implementing mechanism. He posited that even if Wickremesinghe abrogates the MoU, it will have no material effect. Jayasuriya assessed that most UNP members – in or out of the government – will consider the greater national interest and support a strong devolution proposal if the government presents it in parliament, whether or not the MoU is in effect.”

“According to Jayasuriya, taking ministries will give the UNP a voice in governance and permit genuine cooperation on the peace process. He was confident the majority of UNP members would support the government within parliament, and together, the two parties could convince the bulk of voters to accept a devolution proposal to bring a peaceful end to Sri Lanka’s ethnic conflict.”ambassador Blake further wrote

Under the subheading “Need for Internal Reform” ambassador he wrote  “Jayasuriya believed that UNP members are seeking government posts out of a sense of frustration with their own party. He noted that since 1994, when Wickremesinghe came to power, the party has lost 14 out of 16 elections and lost much of its support in agrarian districts. He added that in 1995, Wickremesinghe implemented a new regulation that makes it almost impossible to oust the party leader, who appoints members to all key party positions, including the only working group that might remove him from office. Despite Wickremesinghe’s tight grip on the party and his predicted displeasure with “cross-overs” who join government, Jayasuriya said, he was confident UNP members taking cabinet posts will not hinder efforts to revive the peace process.” .

Read the cable below for further details;

C O N F I D E N T I A L COLOMBO 000099

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/17/2017
TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM PTER CE
SUBJECT: SRI LANKA: OPPOSITION WILL COOPERATE WITH
GOVERNMENT ON PEACE PROCESS REGARDLESS OF INTERNAL RIFTS

Classified By: AMBASSADOR ROBERT O. BLAKE, JR. FOR REASONS 1.4(b) and (
d)

1. (C) The Ambassador met with Karu Jayasuriya, former deputy
leader of the opposition United National Party (UNP), on
January 17 to discuss whether the likely "cross-over" of UNP
members to accept cabinet slots in the government would
damage the MoU between the UNP and governing Sri Lanka
Freedom Party (SLFP).  Jayasuriya pointed out that the MoU so
far has produced few tangible results, other than assuring
UNP support for the government's budget.  He criticized party
leader Ranil Wickremesinghe for signing the MoU without
insisting on an implementing mechanism.  He posited that even
if Wickremesinghe abrogates the MoU, it will have no material
effect.  Jayasuriya assessed that most UNP members - in or
out of the government - will consider the greater national
interest and support a strong devolution proposal if the
government presents it in parliament, whether or not the MoU
is in effect.

Need for Internal Reform
-------------------------

2. (C) Jayasuriya told the Ambassador that he is leading a
group of 17 reformists within the UNP and hopes he and some
of his colleagues will be named ministers when President
Rajapaksa announces a new cabinet, probably after a January
19 SLFP executive committee meeting.  He noted that the UNP
members who accept government posts will retain their party
affiliation.  According to Jayasuriya, taking ministries will
give the UNP a voice in governance and permit genuine
cooperation on the peace process.  He was confident the
majority of UNP members would support the government within
parliament, and together, the two parties could convince the
bulk of voters to accept a devolution proposal to bring a
peaceful end to Sri Lanka's ethnic conflict.

3. (C) Jayasuriya believed that UNP members are seeking
government posts out of a sense of frustration with their own
party.  He noted that since 1994, when Wickremesinghe came to
power, the party has lost 14 out of 16 elections and lost
much of its support in agrarian districts.  He added that in
1995, Wickremesinghe implemented a new regulation that makes
it almost impossible to oust the party leader, who appoints
members to all key party positions, including the only
working group that might remove him from office.  Despite
Wickremesinghe's tight grip on the party and his predicted
displeasure with "cross-overs" who join government,
Jayasuriya said, he was confident UNP members taking cabinet
posts will not hinder efforts to revive the peace process.

4. (C) COMMENT: While many analysts greeted the MoU between
the UNP and SLFP as an important foundation for building a
"southern consensus," Jayasuriya is correct that it has
yielded little to date.  While Wickremesinghe will balk at
the president's "raid" of UNP members, the majority of UNP
parliamentarians have voter bases that strongly support a
negotiated settlement to the ethnic conflict.  Jayasuriya is
right that most UNP parliamentarians will likely support a
strong devolution proposal in parliament, not simply in the
national interest, but also in order to cater to their voters.
BLAKE
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Latest comments

  • 0
    0

    Karu is history in a few hours. So is Sajith and his freaking Golayas.
    Ravi will be the Deputy Leader. Gamini the Chairman, Michael Perera the Deputy Chairman, and John Amaratunge the Chief Whip and some other position. Daya Gamage will be the National Organizer .

  • 0
    0

    Ranil should win . Paba is better than karu. we in gampaha select paba over karu

    • 0
      0

      How could anyone think Ranil is a LLTE supporter? If it was so by now this government would have been grilling him and he may have been ousted long ago. He is clean and that is why no body can point a finger at him. MAy be he is not a good statesmen, but his experience super-seed every one, and he is a leader that Sri Lanka needed but lost due to the shortsightedness of the supporters. Whatever happens it will be the say of the supporters. And no one can challenge it. So whatever it is lets see at the results.. Soon if the UNP do not iron out the differences it will be the loosers, because all this pranks by the members has confused the supporters. So there should be a settlement and it should stop……

    • 0
      0

      Ranil is still the best man for the job. not only for UNP leader. but also for president, irrespective of party politics

  • 0
    0

    all seems to be ok from both sides except sajith premadasa,srilanka dont need a pupet like sajith!his father thaught a good lesson to Srilanka!

  • 0
    0

    Between RW and Karu J. will be a good fight I guess. Either the way the loser is UNP itself not an individual. Sad state and utter chaos like the country. Whoever wins after the elections change the party name as NP not UNP as its not UNITED. There is a song of Olivia Newton Johns – ‘hopelessly devoted for you’

  • 0
    0

    I respect RW a lot for his experience, immense knowledge, exposure and for his background but time is running out. I dont blame the present UNP 100% for the status of the country but RW too was a bit too late. Mr Wickramasinghe is not a crook so he didnt expect his political rivals to do such dirty things which brought the party to its lowest lever ever. Mr. Wickramasinghe he has been robbed and cheated from voctory. Now its a do or die situation for him. JVP is responsible for bringing this regime to power and right now they dont do anything on their own. Even the recent protest is successful thanks to the traders and the farmers. People are there to back the opposition but RW or JVP is not leading from the front. I have no idea if Karu J. or Sajith P. would fit into Ranil’s shoes but its worth giving a try. If the workers of katunayake, The Cardial of the Catholic church & Damulla traders could fight and win their interest, of course the people of this country also can win against autocratic one family show but they have to pay a huge price. What the country need now is a common opposition force with a dynamic leadership. It doesnt matter if it is Sajith or Rosy or Anura Kumara or Mano Ganeshan as long as he or she could give a good show.

  • 0
    0

    Ranil you had so many chances and it is very clear you cannot provide the leadership the UNP needs to win elections. We definitely need a change in leadership before it is too late

  • 0
    0

    Karu, Ranil, Sajith and whom it may concern – country before self. ensure there is a responsible opposition!! long live democracy!!!

  • 0
    0

    What is wrong with Sri Lanka politics is that no one is sincere to the purpose. Leadership is a privilege that should be undertaken if you are able to cope with the task. UNP should start negotiations with Rohitha Bogollagama, who pole vaulted from the UNP to the government in 2007. Get RB to sign a treaty with the UNP that he will not cross back from UNP to UNPA again. Then groom him for leadership in 2012. This is the best solution. He has an internaitonal persona, and will be accepted by both the east and west.

    • 0
      0

      Then Bogollagama will spend all public money for his family. :) :0 :) :)

      • 0
        0

        Not really, he cannot make things worse than what it is now. Rohitha Bogollagama has only one living brother and one living sister. The present regime is doing far worse in that case and the “Rajapakasa” family is holding on to all the money in the government coffers. So, give RB a chance and I think he will be a good leader for the UNP.

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