July 7, 2011 /By Saman Indrajith
The main Opposition in Parliament, the UNP, on Thursday alleged that the government had created the impression among the international community that Sri Lanka was a military State by packing the Sri Lanka Foreign Service with military personnel.
UNP MP John Amaratunge alleged that SLFS was rapidly deteriorating due to inclusion of military personnel. The Gampaha District MP claimed that the government policy had caused anger and frustration among career diplomats.
The MP lashed out at the government for giving diplomatic appointments to ‘raw youngsters who have no academic or other qualifications but happen to be friends or relatives of influential people. “It was earlier agreed that in making appointments to the Foreign missions a ratio of 60%:40% will be between the Foreign Service officers on the one hand and non-service personnel on the other. This ratio has also been observed in the breach.”
“This has resulted in a totally unprofessional foreign service unable to meet several challenges that Sri Lanka is facing presently in the international sphere such as the Darusman Report and calls by various foreign agencies and even countries for Sri Lanka to answer the several charges that have been made against our country.”
The situation has become so bad in the Foreign Service that several senior officers have left the service and joined foreign organizations such as universities thereby depriving Sri Lanka of their knowledge and experience.
Amaratunge said that the normal procedure for recruitment and appointment to the Foreign Service has been through an open competitive examination. It appears that this procedure also been overlooked.
“Consequently our government is not fully in control of our foreign affairs to secure our national interest and Sri Lanka’s foreign policy has ended up in failure,” he added.