- Says one-third of Missions working with no Ambassador or High Commissioner
Foreign Secretary Ravinatha Aryasinha yesterday praised the work of young diplomatic officers in Lankan Missions overseas who are helping stranded nationals.
He said it was noteworthy that at present, out of the 67 Missions of Sri Lanka, one-third of Missions function with officers in acting capacity from the Sri Lanka Foreign Service (SLFS), in the absence of an accredited Ambassador/High Commissioner and also several vacant diplomatic posts.
Aryasinha believed this experience has given significant exposure to several young SLFS officers who were acting in the post of Head of Mission in facing high pressure situations, taking swift and calculated decisions in analysing the host country situations to identify vulnerabilities, while dealing with aggrieved communities.
“Such experiences would enrich their future careers and hold them in good stead in their professional progression,” he added.
During an interview with Sri Lanka Rupavahini on Saturday (16 May), Aryasinha responded to questions on the manner in which the Missions abroad have responded in the face of the many challenges posed by the present pandemic. He explained to the public the complexity of the multiple tasks the Ministry and Mission staff have had to simultaneously address across the globe in an unprecedented manner.These included meeting the concerns of diplomats and tourists in Sri Lanka, securing Missions abroad, addressing the demands of those who wanted to return, easing conditions on the ground for those who wanted to remain in their host countries in collaboration with host governments and communities, securing essential supplies both medical and food, ensuring Sri Lankan exports reached their destinations, and markets were found for new products such as personal protection equipment (PPEs), garnering donations for the COVID-19 fund to the tune of Rs. 27 million, and engaging with the WHO and other multilateral, regional and bilateral partners in leveraging Sri Lanka’s interests.