By Colombo Telegraph –
“Since coming to power in late 2001, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has taken steps to steer Sri Lankan foreign policy closer to the U.S. Wickremesinghe’s pro-U.S. views have been long-standing and are in part a function of family connections. His uncle, J.R. Jayewardene, for example, was Sri Lanka’s president from the late 1970s through the late 1980s, and maintained very close links with the U.S. (Note: In fact, Jayewardene was called “Yankee Dickey” by leftists for years.)” the US Embassy Colombo informed Washington.
The Colombo Telegraph found the related leaked cable from the WikiLeak database. The cable classified as “CONFIDENTIAL” analyses the Sri Lanka’s foreign policy under Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. The cable written on May 29, 2003 by the US Ambassador to Colombo E. Ashley Wills.
Ambassador Wills wrote “Moreover, Wickremesinghe, who comes from a very wealthy busi.ness family, is a strong advocate of free enterprise and strongly opposed to the disastrous socialist policies of former governments. Wickremesinghe is also surprisingly knowledgeable about U.S. history and politics; he is an avid reader about the American Civil War, U.S. military history, and U.S. legislation. The prime minister’s pro-U.S. views also emerge out of his political calculus that Sri Lanka needs the support of the international community, especially the U.S., to constrain the Tamil Tigers. With the peace process his government’s number one priority bar none, the prime minister has worked hard to secure U.S. support for his efforts in this area from very early on in his tenure.”
Below we give a part of the confidential cable;
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 COLOMBO 000909 SIPDIS DEPARTMENT FOR SA, SA/INS, S/P, IO, INR/NESA; NSC FOR E. MILLARD LONDON FOR POL/RIEDEL E.O. 12958: DECL: 05-29-13 TAGS: PREL PGOV PINR CE UN SUBJECT: Sri Lanka's foreign policy: Prime Minister tilts toward U.S., but faces resistance Refs: Colombo 873, and previous (U) Classified by Ambassador E. Ashley Wills. Reasons: 1.5 (b,d). ¶1. (C) SUMMARY: Since coming to power, PM Wickremesinghe has taken steps to steer Sri Lankan foreign policy closer to the U.S. In doing this, he has had successes, including the signing of an ICC waiver with the U.S. and in regard to Iraq where the GSL steered a constructive course. Moreover, one of his key ministers recently proposed that the GSL take the lead in forming some sort of counterweight to NAM. That said, the PM's initiative has faced stiff resistance from MFA bureaucrats. In addition, the president and Opposition, backed by much of the press and the intelligentsia, have cut into his room for maneuver via their generally anti-U.S. biases. ¶2. (C) In the post-Iraq war environment, we think the GSL will continue to want to draw closer to the U.S. With the PM facing a precarious cohabitation situation, however, additional steps toward the USG will have to be carefully plotted out. Nonetheless, with Sri Lanka facing a difficult peace process and needing help to constrain the Tamil Tigers, we think the larger trend in the country provides ballast for the PM's pro-U.S. proclivities. END SUMMARY. -------------------- PM tilts toward U.S. -------------------- ¶3. (C) Since coming to power in late 2001, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has taken steps to steer Sri Lankan foreign policy closer to the U.S. Wickremesinghe's pro-U.S. views have been long-standing and are in part a function of family connections. His uncle, J.R. Jayewardene, for example, was Sri Lanka's president from the late 1970s through the late 1980s, and maintained very close links with the U.S. (Note: In fact, Jayewardene was called "Yankee Dickey" by leftists for years.) Moreover, Wickremesinghe, who comes from a very wealthy business family, is a strong advocate of free enterprise and strongly opposed to the disastrous socialist policies of former governments. Wickremesinghe is also surprisingly knowledgeable about U.S. history and politics; he is an avid reader about the American Civil War, U.S. military history, and U.S. legislation. The prime minister's pro-U.S. views also emerge out of his political calculus that Sri Lanka needs the support of the international community, especially the U.S., to constrain the Tamil Tigers. With the peace process his government's number one priority bar none, the prime minister has worked hard to secure U.S. support for his efforts in this area from very early on in his tenure. WILLS
Trevor Jayetileke / December 5, 2011
Ranil may be deemed a Yankee but the World at large should know that irrespective of individual preferences Sri Lanka has always been ‘Yankee Doodle Dandy’.
The USA like China and Russia have been ‘Friends in Need and Deed’ of Sri Lanka.
This will be the ‘Great Game’ that will be played in the Indian Ocean in the 21st Century., and Sri Lanka’s Role will be the most interesting to watch in this Tri-Polar Power-Play for Supramacy.
The play has begun so Sri Lanka has to watch the Big Picture and not be distracted by the small pictures that are been drawn like wool across our eyes by vested interest. Sri Lanka has to invite the USA from the Front Door to the Great Domain of the Asia-Pacific which we guard and are battle-hardened to serve the East and West alike.
damithw / December 7, 2011
TREVOR. You are so CORRECT.Game started. Don’t forget that, Sri lanka is strategically located in a very sensitive and important geographical location on the world map. Between , two contenders of world super power ( India and China) and on the Route to the Most Important Liquid ( Petroleum ) in the Middle east. Having said that, my only worry is , whether Sri Lanka will be the “NEXT PALESTINE”, where all the supper powers go and “TEST” their new wepons. Time will tell it.
Sri lanka is a very small country with very small GDP , and definitely can not be a Militarily powerful country , such as India , chine , US or Russia. Hence, “Game Plying” is the only choice for small country like sri lanka. unfortunately. Mahinda R , so far has played the game (except his CRONYISM) well , by keeping westerners at bay when need ( Finishing LTTE) and getting Indians , Chinese and Russians support. In the same time , by Bringing GL Peris ( as Foreign Minister) and Milinda Moragoda (as Mayor in Colombo ) , Mahinda R trying to keep the balance with US also, Since , War Crime charges on the way, US support or at least keep US mouth close is very important for Mahinda to save his life ( specially when Mahinda R see what happened to Qaddafi and Saddam Hussein)
Peter / December 6, 2011
We did not need Wikileaks to know that! We did not need wikileaks to know the the JVP has sold out too. Yankee Ranil and Mangala should go to the States marry each other and stay there.
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Nalliah Thayabharan / December 9, 2011
Ranil’s manifesto is always paving the way for mortgaging Sri Lanka to international community, World Bank, IMF and the multinational corporations.
Since its existence it was UNP now being led by Ranil — which was responsible for all the antiTamil and antiMuslim agendas in Sri Lanka. It was UNP that was responsible for making more than a million Tamils speaking Sri Lankans of the Indian origin who toiled to build the economy of Sri Lanka voteless and stateless.
Almost all the antiTamil programmes were initiated and implemented by the UNP. It was the UNP leaders who were in Jaffna directly organized and supervised the torching and burning of the Jaffna Library which was one of the most violent examples of ethnic biblioclasm of the last century. Ranil was a cabinet minister when the 1983 antiTamil pogrom was initiated by the UNP government led by his uncle President J R Jeyawardene. Under principles of parliamentary democracy guided by collective responsibility Ranil too is guilty of the crimes committed against the Tamils in 1983. It was when Ranil was a Cabinet Minister; the UNP Government initiated war as a solution to the ethnic conflict. Ranil was a member of inner UNP Cabinet that organized and supervised military operations against the Tamils.
Ranil ordered and witnessed the execution of hundreds of innocent young men from Kelaniya area in his torture chamber in Batalanda in 1989 which was confirmed by the Presidential Commission of Inquiry which comprised retired judges. Since Ranil committed these horrendous crimes in Batalanda, Ranil had to abandon not only his electorate of Biyagama, but also the Gampaha District. Since these murders Ranil is an MP without an electorate – thanks to his uncle J R Jeyawardene’s constitution. Ranil recruited a convicted killer and hardcore criminal Gonawala Sunil as his secretary. Ranil Shriyan Wickremesinghe’s secretary Gonawala Sunil went around killing and intimidating people Ranil wanted to be silenced. When Ranil was the education minister, officials at the education ministry used to call Gonawala Sunil as Ranil’s husband. Gonawala Sunil is one of the earliest criminal gang leaders in Sri Lankan underworld. Gonawala Sunil had major connections with the UNP government at that time. Gonawala Sunil was convicted of the murder, and was serving in prison when he was famously released on a presidential pardon given by President J R Jayewardene just before the 1982 presidential election. Gonawala Sunil was involved in the massacare of 53 prisoners at Welikada Prison in 1983 and gang raping a 14 year old girl in 1982.
Ranil’s corruption in “LH Plantations” has been highlighted with excruciating details by his very close friend Mangala P Samaraweera. Ranil’s very close family members own several media outlets which promote Ranil and help to prolong Ranil’s political survival.
Ranil has lost seveeral elections. Under Ranil’s ‘leadership’ the UNP has several of high-profile MPs, hundreds of other elected officials, and millions of voters. Most obviously, because Ranil’s appoints the Working Committee of the party that has the only leverage over the leader, and keeps shuffling that Committee to keep it loyal to him. Also because Ranil still controls party lists for elections and can effectively block people out of the political process altogether, at least under the UNP. Finally, however, because Ranil is still fawned upon within a small circle in the party and because he is still supported be a small coterie of loyalists dating back to his school days.
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