Written by Tharushan Fernando
18 Dec, 2015 | 8:09 pm
Speaking in Parliament on Friday, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said that the Sri Lankan Missions have not achieved the expected goals in establishing international relations.
The Prime Minister added that, persons are being named for missions and its positions, on a political basis.
JVP MP,Bimal Rathnayake raised the question:
Can you please include into the Hansard, the names of persons who are not in the Foreign Service but have been appointed to foreign missions. Can you give us the numbers?”
When appointments are made for the post of ambassador, there are regulations that 70 percent of the appointments need to be of the Foreign Service; while 30 percent should not be of the foreign service. And when you take a look at the present percentage – 51 percent comes from the Foreign Service, while the others make up the 49 percent
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr Harsha de Silva in reply stated:
There are 24 who are with the Foreign Service and 23 who are not with thee Foreign Services.
The Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs also added that there is a policy that appointments for the posts of Ambassadors and High Commissioners should be done with a mix of persons in the Foreign Service, and not in the Foreign Service, so that percentage changes from time to time.
Prime Minister,Ranil Wickremesinghe however stated:
There is no such regulation. This is sometimes said by officials from the Foreign Service. When this government was elected, we decided that we will not have that percentage and all suitable persons will be appointed. And while some of them had to be recalled to Colombo and the government’s policy was explained to them, there are persons who do not know that.
Chief Opposition Whip, Anura Kumara Dissanayake raised the question:
Who are these persons appointed to New York, Washington DC , Paris, Rome , Beijing, Tokyo and Sydney ? ” He added:
These are countries that are important to the Foreign Service. However, you have appointed persons from the Working Committee to those countries and some have been taken to the High Post Committee and said that their qualification is , Member of the Working Committee and that is what is mentioned in their CV.
He further stated:
Your policy is not an issue for us. However, there was criticism that led to the downfall of the government in the past, and casting aside all these criticism, you have made political appointments to the nations with which we have market, business, monetary relations
The Prime Minister in reply stated:
Even the Working Committee is capable of calling the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the UK and resolving an issue. And you and I both are aware that when we were in the Opposition was that the foreign relations that the UNP had, was the reason for businesses to move ahead. We have given that benefit for this country. So, if we are to take the Foreign Service official, they will not mention about this and come next year, we will bring all of them back to Sri Lanka and give them training.
The trade policy needs to be taken forward and we cannot say the same old thing to the world. Our people must be trained and you cannot simply battle with the world because President Maithripala Sirisena is not like King Dutugemunu.
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