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* Sri Lanka's new Foreign Minister plans to streamline overseas missions
Mon, Jun 26, 2017, 10:32 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

June 26, Colombo: The Sri Lankan government has taken measures to streamline overseas missions in order to make commercial relations with other countries more efficient, island nation's new Foreign Affairs Minister Ravi Karunanayake said.

Speaking to media at a press briefing at Sirikotha on Sunday, Minister Karunanayake said the Government has decided to promote 'commerce based diplomacy' with other countries to attract more Foreign Direct Investment to the island and diplomatic service must be prepared for such a mission.

The Minister said there are about 64 Embassies and High Commission offices abroad and the government will close some unfit missions and open new ones that will benefit the country.

"We will have to close down some missions that haven't been found useful lately and we expect to open new embassies for the benefit of the country," the Minister said.

"People's tax money is spent to maintain these diplomatic missions. Therefore every cent spent should bring benefit to the country," he said.

The Minister, without disclosing any details said three Sri Lankan Ambassadors have already been recalled due to incompetence.

"We cannot allow incompetent persons to hold those positions and enjoy their time at the expense of public money," he said.

He pointed out that many at overseas missions in the recent past have received unnecessary VIP facilities. "We have no issue of providing VIP facilities to the suited but in most cases, unneeded individuals have benefited from VIP services."

Minister Karunanayake said he brought this to the attention of the President and the Prime Minister and steps have been taken to limit this situation immediately.

He said all Ambassadors in Sri Lanka including honorary consuls have been invited for a meeting chaired by the President and Prime Minister on September 4 to discuss how to carry forward the Government's agenda.

"Together with the President and Prime Minister, I will formulate a proper system to ensure optimal service from our diplomatic missions," the Minister said.

Responding to a question on gazetting the Development Lotteries Board and National Lotteries Board under the Foreign Ministry, the Minister questioned why similar concerns were not raised when the Higher Education Ministry was amalgamated with the Highway, Transport Ministry was amalgamated with the aviation and when the President took over the TRC. The Minister said he eliminated fraud and corruption in the two institutions and made them profit making institutions.


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