Home / News/ Esala Weerakoon to be new Foreign Secretary

Esala Weerakoon to be new Foreign Secretary


Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Monday, 9 May 2016 00:00


By Dharisha Bastians

Career diplomat Esala Weerakoon has been nominated as Sri Lanka’s next Foreign Secretary and is expected to take office on 1 June 2016. 

The letter nominating Weerakoon as the top bureaucrat at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been sent to the Presidential Secretariat by Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera, Daily FT learns. The appointment of the Foreign Secretary will be made by President Maithripala Sirisena.

Weerakoon will replace Chitranganee Wageeswara, who continued as Foreign Secretary after formally retiring in the Service in September 2015.

Wageeswara, the outgoing Foreign Secretary has been posted to New Delhi as Sri Lanka’s new High Commissioner to India.

While Weerakoon is not the most senior officer in the Sri Lanka Foreign Service, he was the best choice in the current context, with the Foreign Ministry driving the transitional justice process that the Government has committed to with the UN and its international allies, authoritative sources told Daily FT. 

Weerakoon, who has served as Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Norway, High Commissioner to India and Deputy Ambassador to the United States, is well placed for the international networking that will be crucial to the reconciliation initiatives that the Ministry is driving, the sources said. Additionally, Weerakoon is also generally well-liked within the Ministry and the Foreign Service, the source added.

Esala Weerakoon joined the Foreign Service in 1988 and has served 28 years in the country’s professional diplomatic corps. He is the son of former civil servant Bradman Weerakoon, who has served, during his career, under nine Prime Ministers and Presidents of Sri Lanka, including current Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

While his appointment is likely to be generally well-received, Weerakoon being number eight in the Service seniority list has caused rumblings among some senior diplomats, an authoritative source told Daily FT.  However, Esala Weerakoon is the best choice for the political spirit of the moment, the highly placed source said.

The senior-most officer in the Foreign Service, Jayantha Palipana has just been appointed as Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Norway by Minister Samaraweera. Former Foreign Secretary under Minister G.L. Peiris, Kshenuka Seneviratne who currently serves as Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Thailand is second in seniority. Ranjith Uyangoda who is due to retire from the Service in less than a year follows Seneviratne as third in seniority, in the now most senior 1985 batch of Foreign Service officers.

Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, Ravinatha Aryasinha is fourth in seniority in the Foreign Service list, at the top of the 1988 batch of diplomatic officers. Ambassador Aryasinha who has served as Permanent Representative in Geneva since 2012, just received an extension of his tenure from the Foreign Ministry until July 2017.

 


Share This Article


DISCLAIMER:

1. All comments will be moderated by the Daily FT Web Editor.

2. Comments that are abusive, obscene, incendiary, defamatory or irrelevant will not be published.

3. We may remove hyperlinks within comments.

4. Kindly use a genuine email ID and provide your name.

5. Spamming the comments section under different user names may result in being blacklisted.

COMMENTS

Today's Columnists

Unless addressed, wages issue will keep troubling Bangladesh’s garment industry

Saturday, 19 January 2019

The recent week-long mass protests by garment workers in Bangladesh came to an end after an upward revision of wages for six classes of workers. But even after the upward revision, the Bangladeshi garment worker gets less than what workers in compara


Is GDP the ideal metric of the future?

Friday, 18 January 2019

In an age of stark contradictions, we live in a world where the exclusive 1% enjoy access to an abundance of wealth and resources but also a world where a billion people scarcely have enough to eat and have limited access to health and education. Whi


Evaluation of economic performance: 4 years into Yahapalana Government

Friday, 18 January 2019

The Yahapalana Government completed four years on 8 January this year. The four-year journey was a rough ride with a clear rift between the President and the UNP; the ruling party. The Government continues to face severe criticism from both inside an


Elimination of bribery and corruption

Friday, 18 January 2019

Bribery and corruption can be regarded as a malicious cancer that has penetrated into almost every strata of Sri Lankan state. It can be considered a major factor affecting Sri Lanka’s poverty, backwardness and indebtedness. Abuse of power by thos


Columnists More