US Ambassador Ashley Wills had in 2003 claimed that Milinda Moragoda, who was a minister in the then United National Front (UNF) government – headed by Ranil Wickremesinghe had said he was interested in forming a group to counter the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) block of countries, whistle blower WikiLeaks has revealed.
The cable which analyses Sri Lanka’s pro US foreign policy under Mr. Wickremesinghe was sent on May 29, 2003 by Mr. Wills. It said since coming to power, Mr. Wickremesinghe has taken steps to steer Sri Lankan foreign policy closer to the US. In doing this, he has had successes, including the signing of an ICC waiver with the US 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.
“...............Moragoda's direct focus has been on cultivating relations with the U.S. and with India. Regarding the U.S., the intelligent, articulate Moragoda is a perfect fit. Born in Washington, D.C, he is a dual national Amcit (please protect) married to an American, with plenty of Washington connections, many from his days as a visiting fellow at the Heritage Foundation and at Harvard.
A ‘big picture’ person, Moragoda is also highly aware that the U.S. is the most powerful country in the world, and he feels that it is better that Sri Lanka recognize that fact and work within it,” the cable said. “More recently, Minister Moragoda made a startling proposal to U.S. officials.
In discussions in Washington, Moragoda stated that the GSL was interested in forming some sort of group that would counter the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) block of countries. Moragoda was a bit vague about his idea. He indicated, however, that the GSL -- although a charter member of the group since its formation decades ago -- felt that the NAM was too strident and too anti-U.S., and that greater practicality was now called for.
The way forward is still being worked on, but once the idea is fleshed out further, the current thinking is that PM Wickremesinghe might announce some sort of formal proposal regarding a new grouping at the UN General Assembly this September.”