By Colombo Telegraph
“Wickremesinghe appeared to be in control of his party and remains the central figure in the UNP. But his cautious statements and reluctance to deviate from standers UNP talking points may be Wickremesinghes’s response to internal UNP questioning of his leadership.” the US ambassador wrote to Washington.
The Colombo Telegraph found a leaked US diplomatic cable from WikiLeaks database recounts details of the US ambassador’s first meeting with Opposition leader and United National Party leader Ranil Shriyan Wickremesinghe held on October 13, 2009. The cable was classified as “CONFIDENTIAL” by Ambassador Patricia A. Butenis.
Under the subject “UNP Leader downbeat but unbowed” the ambassador Butenis wrote “Wickremesinghe asserted that if the current government won the national elections, political freedom would be fewer, that there would be unrest in the north, that the government’s inaction to develop new industries would leave the country economically disadvantaged, and that the gap between the elite and the poor would grow larger.”
The pair discussed a wide range of issues, including IDPs, the soon – to be released report to Congress on incidents during the recent conflict, and the results from the recent southern provincial elections. “Wickremesinghe expressed concern that the government’s attempts to colonize historically Tamil areas could aggravate ethnic tensions. He suggested congressional hearings after the release of the report could help ease the GSL’s frustrations and serve as an outlet for dissenting opinions. He also said that the UNP while not happy with its own showing, was pleased that the UPFA did not achieve its goal of an 80 percent majority in the recent southern provincial elections.” the ambassador wrote.
Read the full confidential US diplomatic cable below;
VZCZCXRO3454 OO RUEHBI DE RUEHLM #0957/01 2921302 ZNY CCCCC ZZH O 191302Z OCT 09 FM AMEMBASSY COLOMBO TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0630 INFO RUEHKA/AMEMBASSY DHAKA PRIORITY 1952 RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD PRIORITY 8988 RUEHKT/AMEMBASSY KATHMANDU PRIORITY 7226 RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 5161 RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI PRIORITY 3370 RUEHNY/AMEMBASSY OSLO PRIORITY 5117 RUEHOT/AMEMBASSY OTTAWA PRIORITY 1394 RUEHSM/AMEMBASSY STOCKHOLM PRIORITY 0652 RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO PRIORITY 4228 RUEHCG/AMCONSUL CHENNAI PRIORITY 9549 RUEHBI/AMCONSUL MUMBAI PRIORITY 6849 RUEHON/AMCONSUL TORONTO PRIORITY 1323 RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA PRIORITY 3775 RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI PRIORITY RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS PRIORITY RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 COLOMBO 000957 SIPDIS DEPARTMENT FOR SCA/INSB E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/13/2019 TAGS: PGOV PREL PREF PHUM PTER EAID MOPS CE SUBJECT: UNP LEADER DOWNBEAT BUT UNBOWED Classified By: AMBASSADOR PATRICIA A. BUTENIS. REASONS: 1.4 (B, D) ¶1. (C) SUMMARY: In an October 13 courtesy call by the Ambassador, main opposition United National Party (UNP) leader Ranil Wickremesinghe discussed a wide range of issues, including IDPs, the soon-to-be released report to Congress on incidents during the recent conflict, and the results from the recent southern provincial elections. Wickremesinghe expressed concern that the government's attempts to colonize historically Tamil areas could aggravate ethnic tensions. He suggested congressional hearings after the release of the report could help ease the GSL's frustrations and serve as an outlet for dissenting opinions. He also said that the UNP, while not happy with its own showing,was pleased that the UPFA did not achieve its goal of an 80 percent majority in the recent southern provincial elections. END SUMMARY. ------------------------ UNP Concerned About IDPs ------------------------ ¶2. (C) This was the Ambassador's first meeting with the main opposition party leader. They discussed a wide range of issues. Wickremesinghe expressed concern for the IDPs interned in camps in the north and suggested that the government formally detain suspected LTTE cadres and step up the return of other IDPs. He also suggested that the government amend its law so that it would be in synch with UN guidelines, thus legalizing the government's continued detention of the IDPs. Wickremesinghe expressed frustration with the government,s refusal to allow members of parliament to visit the camps, saying that he understood the government's refusal to allow access to detainees but not IDPs. He suggested that the government wanted to resettle Sinhalese in the Vanni, but the lack of schools and infrastructure would make it difficult. He asserted that the government could exacerbate ethnic tensions if it eventually succeeded in changing the Vanni's historically Tamil demography. ---------------------------------------- Taking the Sting Out of the S/WCI Report ---------------------------------------- ¶3. (C) Wickremesinghe suggested the upcoming report to Congress had been met with silence thus far from the Tamil parties because their priority was IDPs. When the Ambassador asked him what he viewed as the next step after submission of the report, Wickremesinghe suggested congressional hearings, in which GSL representatives would have the opportunity to testify, would "take the sting out" of the report and provide the government the opportunity to make its case heard. --------------------------------------------- ---------- UNP: Current Political Climate Hurts Political Freedoms --------------------------------------------- ---------- ¶4. (C) On the recent southern provincial election results, Wickremesinghe offered that the UNP knew it was not going to win but was pleased that the UPFA did not do as well as it had hoped. He also cited access to the media as a hindrance to the UNP's campaign and pointed to General Sarath Fonseka's weekend speech, which was censored or unaired by several media organizations, as an example of the country's dwindling respect for free press. (Note: The speech was carried in a leading english-language paper on October 18.) Wickremesinghe asserted that if the current government won the national elections, political freedoms would be fewer, that there would be unrest in the north, that the government's inaction to develop new industries would leave the country economically disadvantaged, and that the gap between the elite and the poor would grow larger. COLOMBO 00000957 002 OF 002 ¶5. (C) COMMENT: Wickremesinghe appeared to be in control of his party and remains the central figure in the UNP. But his cautious statements and reluctance to deviate from standard UNP talking points may be Wickremesinghe's response to internal UNP questioning of his leadership. BUTENIS
Sri Lankan / October 14, 2011
cheh, Mr Bean, you are a traitor
Gamma W Nawala / October 14, 2011
He is a great leader, that’s why he service. he is intelligent. he is the most respected Politician in Sri Lanka . we are with you sir.
Ian -G / October 14, 2011
Ranil is an idiot. he even sacked Maharoff.
Ajith P / October 14, 2011
He should have been sacked, totally from the party, along with Milinda, for altering the nomination list of the UNP for the CMC election, last time.
Weeravansa / October 14, 2011
I was surprised when Mr.. Mahroof openly claimed he had given 1000 million to RW. Thats a lot of money and I wonder how he could have earned so much by normal means. Income Tax department please note.
Duminda / October 14, 2011
Ex-Minister’s money in Swiss bank account – A multinational company says. read
Muheed - Panadura / October 14, 2011
An ugly opportunist. The muslims in Colombo will reciprocate.
Edwin / October 14, 2011
It was great decision by the party as all the members had agreed to follow our party constitution .Therefore; we must maintain the proper discipline at the party. Those two members had supported the independents party in both the area and it was lead by those two members. Now Sajith think twice before he does any activities against the leadership and leadership automatically come to someone rather than trying to take by forcing.
CG / October 14, 2011
Yes it is a very good decision. Buddika is a spy for Sirasa. They are trying to break the UNP and get the majority voters. Send away Sajith too, he is a another dirty fellow. UNP will be better off without these time servers.
Hema / October 14, 2011
Not only buddika and srilal,what about sajith the main conspirator,culprit?,must kick out from the party.
KKKK / October 14, 2011
Shiral Lakthilaka very professional man. UNP need Shiral & Imthiyas. Need to sack Sajith, Kaduwala Modaya & Buddika.
Chandana Keerthi / October 14, 2011
You are not capable to you run our motherland. see what said to US ambassador? but I’m happy at least you said ” “the gap between the elite and the poor would grow larger.” that is the only thing you mentioned.
Jayamanthi / October 14, 2011
Ranil Shriyan Wickremesinghe???? does he has a “Shriyan” part? :) pretty good. sexy name.
Siripala Aththanayaka - Kotte / October 14, 2011
“But his cautious statements and reluctance to deviate from standers UNP talking points may be Wickremesinghes’s response to internal UNP questioning of his leadership.” – the US ambassador is correct. this man is a dictator, yesterday he suspended Attorney Shiral Lakthilake and Dr Buddhika Pathirana from the party work. that is how this man runs the party.
Manj / October 14, 2011
Siripala, Let’s hope that they will fight to the end, in order to re-establish democracy in the party. No investigations on the defeats of the UNP bastions (Kandy & Nuwara – Eliya) and loosing the working majority (CMC) for the first time, even though it is not an issue according to the act.
Kidos / October 14, 2011
Please put the effort in building all of your electorate. Ranil, with all the internal as well external pressure, was able to win Colombo, his electorate. Sajith’s Hambantota, UNP got only 27% of the vote.. You all are destroying the party. Rally around the leader, covert all your effort to bring back the party to power…Internal power struggle would destroy the party. And I guess, its high time for the UNP , to take disciplinary action even if it has to sack some high profile members.
Karma / October 14, 2011
Ranil is a “gothaya” he has a secret pact with the King Percy.
Tiran / October 14, 2011
Ranil Wickramasinghe will be the ultimate party leader, whatever groups meet and analyze
Anurudda Thilakasiri / October 14, 2011
Ranil (even though he is physically handicapped??) may not be an orator and a charming stage actor. But he stood for a consistent policy (anti- Sinhala petty bourgeoisie policy???). He wanted a federal solution for the national problem and by that means wanted to avoid a genocidal war (Unlike the gentleman Karu who supported the genocidal war). On the other hand he wanted a liberal capitalist economy with workers tied to collective agreements (surely not the type of “Sinhala chauvinist pro-IMF policies” but may be different kind of “pro-IMF policies”).
Yep. We hear loud and clear. Ranil wants to “to convert the UNP to a social democratic party- radically reformist bourgeoisie party”.
Opatha - Ragama / October 14, 2011
Though Mahinda could deceive racial minded masses in the south and win elections despite every imaginable problem and corruption a country could possibly have, he totally miscalculated the mindset in the north and put the whole country in an extremely precarious situation because at a time the whole world is cornering Sri Lanka and finding ways to level war crime allegations due to stupid activities of Mahinda’s regime, this dull witted regime provided them with another weapon to attack Sri Lanka by allowing TNA to achieve political victory and showing to the world that Tamils have a separate political power and now the international players could exploit that channel to make their demands with the great danger that if this regime does not give a proper solution that very same electoral power obtained by TNA could be exploited internationally to create the 194th country in the world here in Sri Lanka for Tamils.
Though Ranil may not be 100% acceptable to everybody, he seems to be the only one politician the country has today who could mediate in providing acceptable solutions to the problems in the country including the ones created by this stupid Mahinda regime-the problem of democracy, law and order, numerous institutions destroyed by the regime, health and education sectors, agriculture and irrigation, totally collapsed police and judicial service, inquiries into colossal amounts of monies robbed by this govt- All these things must be solved.
UNP vote base is there like a sleeping giant. No other party can obtain that vote in the near future. What is practical and required is to gather all the opposition parties around Ranil and chase this rogue king away to elect a government to reflect the aspirations of all concerned.
CBK / October 14, 2011
Ranil has a clear policy and vision towards ethnic problem.
Sri Lankan / October 14, 2011
Great work, Ranil. Rule the party as a leader. Get rid of the major culprit of this dirty conspiracy, Sajith. He is already working for MR & company. Kick his ass out of the party so that he could go to hell and do politics with corrupted “Rajapakse Regime”
Dr, Maverick / October 17, 2011
Ra NIL is nothing but a opportunist. Greed of power not caring for the party forgetting that he is already in the book of records for the most losing presidential candidate in elections. Once bitten twice shy – that is for people who have dignity. Where does a gAy like Ranil knows what is dignity. The President of SL sees Ranil Wikramasinghe, as the host for his own existence. People who lives in villages previously called certain bad omens as “ketha-ge apaley” but now they call it as “ranila-ge apaley”