The Government is maintaining sound diplomatic relations with Britain even in the absence of a high commissioner in charge of the Sri Lankan mission in that country, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told Parliament today.
He said the officer who is overseeing the mission is in a position to speak directly to British Prime Minister David Cameron over the phone.
However, he assured that a suitable person would be appointed as the Sri Lankan High Commissioner soon.
Responding to questions asked by Chief Opposition Whip Anura Kumara Dissanayake and MPs Bimal Ratnayake and Udaya Gammanpila, the Prime Minister said the government would not consider whether a person was a career diplomat when a person was appointed to a foreign mission. "Being a career diplomat is not the criteria but the ability to deliver goods is," he said.
He also informed Parliament that the New Zealand Prime Minister would be visiting Sri Lanka next year and that the visit was being directly coordinated by the Foreign Ministry in Colombo without the help of diplomats.
The Prime Minister said this in response to an allegation made by Mr. Dissanayake that UNP working committee members had been given diplomatic appointments. He answered in similar vein to a question asked by Mr Gammanpila whether a UNPer was being be appointed as the Sri Lankan High Commissioner to Britain.
Mr Ratnayake said the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) was opposed to the government policy on foreign postings because the internationally accepted norm was that 70 per cent of diplomatic postings be given to career diplomats and the rest to outsiders. (Yohan Perera)
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