Sri Lanka diplomats decry encroachment

Dec 14, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s professional diplomats have slammed a practice by government politicians of appointing friends, relations and cronies to missions abroad, saying it damaged the country’s interests. The letter was aimed at highlighting the habit of successive governments and foreign ministers of rewarding friends, cronies and political supporters with overseas appointments at public expanse.

It dismissed government claims that the appointment of non-career officers to overseas missions bring in outside expertise.

It said the Sri Lanka Foreign Service by itself is a “resource base of individuals who have obtained diverse specialties and talents in other fields prior to choosing diplomacy as a career.

“These SLFS officers also bring in crucial experience in the field of diplomacy, in contrast to outsiders who may excel in their chosen professions but have little or no training and knowledge in international relations and the conduct of diplomacy.”

The SLFSA said it notes with concern that, “contrary to what is stated in the release, many of the recent political appointees possess hardly any qualifications that can bring value addition to further Sri Lanka’s interests abroad.