By Ashwin Hemmathagama – Our Lobby Correspondent
The Opposition yesterday slammed the Government for delays in appointing a new Sri Lankan High Commissioner to the UK, a position that has been vacant for 14 months with UPFA Colombo District MP Udaya Gammampila charging the Government has neglected the importance of the UK.
“The British governed Sri Lanka for 133 years. The UK is one of the few members of the European Union. The High Commissioner post has been vacant for 14 months. You have promised to appoint a professional and suitable person to fill the post of High Commissioner in the UK,” said MP Gammampila.
Even though the UK is an important country for Sri Lanka, it requires time to select a suitable person to fill the vacancy, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said, rejecting MP Gammampila’s charges and reminding the house that the former High Commissioner was ill-treated during the Rajapaksa regime.
“We have no plans of appointing our relatives to diplomatic missions to run private businesses abroad. The UK is not a place to appoint relatives, kill people, and also to do tea business. Embassies and High Commissions are places to run the foreign policy of the Government. We still pay the bills of the previous. I met Dr. Chris Nonis who told me the entire story behind the attack. Anyway, our relationship with the UK is at a very high position. We don’t attack people, just don’t fire people, or discretely record the conversations,” said Prime Minister.
Further strengthening the Government Policy and to respond a supplementary question raised by MP Gammampila, the Deputy Foreign Minister Dr. Harsh de Silva said, “the UK is an important country for us. But during your period, the Monitoring MP of the Foreign Ministry attacked the UK High Commissioner, who was hospitalised. That is how you treated the Sri Lankan High Commissioner in the UK. We will select a suitable person. Currently Sugeeshwara Gunarathne is looking after the diplomatic work in the Sri Lankan High Commission in the UK.”