“Doing our best to live up to expectations of PM”: Harsha

Harsha De Silva

Feb 10, 2016 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs assures that although there is some frustration at the Prime Ministers level with regards to Foreign Ministry performance, they are doing their utmost to prove themselves.

“We are a new and liberal government and we need to get on with it. Most importantly the foreign office must deliver the message of the government.” Harsha de Silva, deputy minister of foreign affairs told Lanka Business Online.

“There are two sides to this story. There is a certain level of frustration at the Prime Ministers level and you can’t blame him for that,” de Silva said.

Given the economic policy shifts that have occurred and the need for active international engagement, the Prime Minister wants Sri Lanka’s interests to be represented abroad with economic diplomacy.

“We are trying and doing our best to live up to the high expectations of the Prime Minister. But this is not an easy job this is a network around the world.”

A knowledge platform has been deployed for the missions abroad and a research agency has been hired to advise on improving capacity in this regard, de Silva said. No changes will be made to the Ministry structure, he added.

“Mr. Mangala Samaraweera will report to the President and the Prime Minister and the Economic affairs department has also not been closed like claimed.”

Speaking about the Ministry’s achievements so far de Silva said that GSP+ will become a reality this year. “The most tangible achievement thus far is getting people to align foreign policy with economic policy, so this is a major win.”

“I am confident that we will get GSP+ by end 2016 and this will bring in a lot of opportunities and its not just about apparels. This was economic diplomacy and a victory for the foreign office.”