Genevagate: Journalists ask questions from Mahinda Samarasinghe (Watch Report)

Genevagate: Journalists ask questions from Mahinda Samarasinghe (Watch Report)

Written by Staff Writer

28 Oct, 2014 | 9:54 pm

Former Sri Lankan Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, Tamara Kunanayakam, says that the Minister of External Affairs, should make public the communication between U. Jauhar at the Mission in Geneva and a Swiss intelligence official.

Tamara Kunanayakam

On October 21 the Minister of External Affairs issued a communique exonerating the Secretary to the Ministry of any wrong-doing in the controversy surrounding the 2009 refurbishment of the Official Residence of the Permanent Representative in Geneva.

However, Tamara Kunanayakam, who was the Permanent Representative when the communication is supposed to have occurred, made the following observations regarding the procedure to be followed when making such a communication.

[quote]The Ambassador would instruct the consular officer concerned, to prepare what is called a “note verbale”, or a third person note. Which is a note where there is no signature to it, it is not addressed to any person that is named, it is addressed to the Foreign Ministry of the country concerned or the equivalent of the secretary to the Foreign Ministry, it is stamped… there is a stamp by the embassy, and an initial, and usually, the Ambassador has to initiate it, or has to see it before it goes and has to authorise it.[/quote]

Speaking further she said:

[quote]Now in this case, I was there at the time that Mr. Jauhar is supposed to have sent this personal note. It is not a third person’s note, it is not a ‘note verbale’, but some form of personal communication. Which is totally outside the normal established rules for communication between two governments. It is quite a legitimate question to ask to show the communication. Also it is totally irregular to refer to, even if it was an intelligence officer, you don’t mention the names of an intelligence officer from any country in the world. I mean what is the credibility of Sri Lanka vis a vis other countries? Even our own allies, they will say, well, they will be careful about communicating with us, because we could suddenly release the names of their people and put their officers in danger.[/quote]

Meanwhile, at a media briefing convened in Colombo on Tuesday, journalists questioned Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe, who also frequented the Human Rights Council sessions in Geneva in this period, regarding the Genevagate controversy.

To which the Minister replied:

[quote]No. No. I convened this media briefing today to discuss budget proposals. We will talk about that separately. We will keep Minister. G.L. Peiris next to us and talk about it. I know what you came prepared for.[/quote]

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