The Foreign Minister Samaraweera Must Go
Posted on July 28th, 2016

By Dr Mathias Keitel, Tubingen, Germany.– Asian Tribune –

My recent visit to Sri Lanka, the country that I love most, fills me with dark foreboding as its vital interests are being systematically compromised by its buccaneering Foreign .

Minister Mangala Samaraweera

Dr Dayan Jayatilleka pointedly observed in a recent article, that Foreign Minister Samaraweera “poses an existential threat to the State’s sovereignty and security, and gravely jeopardizes political stability and governability.” So true.

Corridor chatter in Geneva continues to suggest that in his apparent schoolboyish and sycophantish eagerness to endear himself to the Western promoters of the UNHRC resolution of October 2015 on Sri Lanka and his naive rush to placate the expatriate Tamil groups, who are still pursuing the Ealamist agenda through other means with the apparent acquiescence of their patrons in the West, he conceded far more than what the drafters of the resolution had expected.

Incredibly, with scant regard for the provisions of the Constitution and the Sri Lankan Bar with its proud history, the Resolution that he agreed to cosponsor calls for a, “credible judicial process, with the participation of Commonwealth and other foreign judges, defence lawyers and authorised prosecutors and investigators…”. In many countries, compromising the national constitution with such audacity would have resulted in prosecution before the courts.

The Resolution is now being waved around by those demanding foreign judges (or at least foreign participation in the judicial process to lend it credibility!) to investigate alleged war crimes committed by Sri Lankan troops as they eliminated the reputedly invincible and ruthless terrorist LTTE to the undisguised relief and unmitigated gratitude of the nation. The brave soldiers who sacrificed everything for the nation are now being subjected to thoughtless villification and a dignified Bar is being discombobulated with doubts of self-worth. Among those calling for foreign judges or foreign participation are the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the regular cavalcade of visitors from Washington, the TNA and the Northern Provincial Council. With a little more respect for the memory of the thousands of youth who willingly gave up their lives to liberate Sri Lanka from the thirty year scourge of terrorism and protect the country’s sovereignty, the much higher number who were maimed for life in battle and the untold numbers of civilians who were killed, injured or had their loved ones obliterated during years of indiscriminate bombings by the LTTE, and a simple awareness of the diplomatic processes, Sri Lanka’s highest representative abroad had the opportunity to negotiate a better deal. What is more, there is ample evidence to suggest that the West was willing to accommodate Sri Lanka’s sensitivities to a greater extent to strengthen the newly elected administration of President Sirisena.

Part of the blame for the resolution’s schlocky content must be borne by those who advised the Foreign Minister, especially members of the Foreign Service, who let the Minister indulge his folly while keeping their counsel obsequiously mute. Many had been grand advocates of the previous administration’s cocky approach to diplomacy and the world.

What appears to emerge as the craven supplication of the Foreign Minister before the West’s glitzy alters from the beginning of his tenure is embarassing. He has mistaken the role of the Foreign Minister of defending and advancing the nation’s interests robustly and with quiet dignity for genuflecting at every opportunity. As they say in New York’s “Village” ‘A guy so ready to turn over and get his **** ******’. Sri Lanka’s timerous eagerness to please the West, causes bemused smirks in Western foreign ministries and irritation among its traditional friends.

Journalists based in Washington and New York have noted that, from the time he assumed office, he has taken upon himself to denigrate the previous leadership of the country before his Western counterparts, sometimes embellished with unsubstantiated tall yarns, perhaps in the naive and forlorn belief that his popularity among them would be enhanced. (One recalls his tales of the Rajapaksas siphoning off $50 billion to foreign tax havens or Mahinda Rajapaksa’s election campaign being funded by the Chinese). It is doubtful if this goal has been achieved as Western diplomacy itself is based on the continuity of a country’s interests. Badmouthing a previous leadership which could return to power at some point, with foreign counterparts, is certainly not “cricket” and not in the country’s best interests.

The reaction of the British leadership to the Chilcot Report on Tony Blair’s now largely discredited role in Britain’s participation in the illegal invasion of Iraq provides a salutory lesson to Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister. The former Prime Minister, Cameron, pointedly refused to state whether the invasion was “a mistake” or “wrong” and rejected calls for a Conservative Party apology for its role.

The West has always respected those opponents who behaved with dignity, in fact, from the time of Alexander the Great. When captive King Porus (Pauravas) was brought before him in chains, Alexander haughtily asked Porus how he would like to be treated. Porus responded “Like the king that I am”. Alexander had his chains removed and restored his kingdom to him. The Foreign Minister has not learned the fundamental rule of being the chief representative of the country overseas. I.e. to represent the country’s best interests with fortitude, dignity and quiet pride. For Minister Samaraweera, it may be too late.

Furthermore, from the time it assumed office, elements of the new leadership, especially Mr Samaraweera, went out of their way to offend China which steadfastly stood by Sri Lanka in its darkest days during the terrorist inspired conflict and later was liberal with its finances as the country struggled to rebuild. China resisted all efforts of NGOs and some Western countries to dilute its support for Sri Lanka even from the time of the presidency of Mrs Kumaratunga. The naive efforts to insult and shove aside China in the immature hope of winning brownie points in the West were being made at a time when Chinese business concerns were purchasing aerodromes in France (Toulouse, the base of Airbus), harbours in Greece (Piraes), iconic hotels (Waldorf), real estate and bonds in the USA and real estate, health care, mining, renewable energy assets, etc. in Australia, not to mention infusing extensive and dramatic economy changing investments into Latin America, Africa and Asia, including India. Oblivious to these seismic developments, the Foreign Minister cut a sad figure denigrating China in public, but when the truckloads of development assistance did not materialise from a cash strapped West, turned pathetically to China again seeking funding. China, of course, haughtily responded by declaring that it dealt with the state of Sri Lanka and not with a particular government.

Following the same ill conceived approach, the Foreign Minister chose to brazenly contradict the President on a crucial matter of national importance and with international implications. It was an unpardonable breach of protocol and propriety for the Foreign Minister to contradict the President of the country. President Sirisena had categorically declared on two successive occasions that there will be no foreign judges to investigate alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka. The Prime Minister had reiterated the same sentiment. The Foreign Minister insensitively declared that the matter was still being discussed and people were free to express their own views. The Foreign Minister having made damaging concessions in the UNHRC resolution, may have privately provided assurances to his foreign interlocutors and diaspora Tamil groups which did not accord with the sentiments clearly articulated by the President of the country and was now seeking to wriggle out or was injudiciously trying to box in the President. Either way, in any mature democracy, he would have been shown the door. The requirement for the Foreign Minister to adopt a consistent stance with the Head of State and the Prime Minister is not a matter of courtesy, it is an obligation.

Mr. Sumanthiran, MP (TNA) revealed at the Congressional Caucus in Washington, in the presence of Sri Lankan Ambassador to the United States, which the resolution adopted in Geneva, had been negotiated and they had settled for a hybrid model. Neither the Sri Lanka ambassador nor the Foreign Ministry has rebutted this assertion despite the clear statements made by the President of the country.

With the country’s economic situation becoming increasingly shaky, it is incumbent on the leadership of the government to present a predictable and unified stance to the world. The business community is seriously lacking confidence. FDI flows have begun to decline seriously. Foreign reserves are dwindling. The one rosy spot in the economy, the booming tourism industry, will disintegrate rapidly with just a single incident of ethnic unrest. The Foreign Minister’s unguided course through these troubled waters could very well provide the spark to ignite such ethnic unrest. There are large sharks in the neighborhood who would relish the thought of the country reverting to its violent past.

The majority community, especially those negatively impacted by recent IMF prescribed economic reforms, is increasingly feeling uncomfortable with these developments. Thousands of servicemen, including returned servicemen, are uncertain about their futures with the threat of war crimes investigations dangling over their heads while hardly any public comment has emanated from the leadership of the Government about the need to investigate those who funded and supported the LTTE’s horrific bombing campaign that killed and maimed thousands of civilians, dragged over 20,000 children in to jungle camps for military training and seriously desecrated the holiest Buddhist places of worship. Instead, the Foreign Minister publicly hob nobs with them discussing reconciliation, including judicial tribunals with foreign participation. The High Commissioner for Human Rights, the most reasonable and erudite Prince Said, echoes the sentiments of the the expatriate Tamil community more stridently each time as the frequent traveller to Geneva, the Foreign Minister, seems incapable or uninterested in conveying a different perspective to him, including the constraints inherent in the Constitution.

The recent unrest in the Jaffna University should be a serious warning to the authorities. The actions of the Foreign Minister may have encouraged the renewed assertiveness of the extremist Tamil groups and contributed to fueling the clashes. The similarities with the isolated incidents of the 70s which the then authorities naively swept under the carpet to pander to communal sensitivities which later exploded in the bloodletting of 1983 and were conveniently exploited by the separatist groups to launch 30 years of horrific terrorism should not be ignored.

The oversensitive reaction of the authorities to the Jaffna university clashes is feeding the appetite of those seeking to sow the seeds of ethnic discord. At a time when Buddhist monks are being arrested on charges of inciting social and ethnic discord, a robust investigation to the clashes should have commenced immediately with as much publicity as possible and those responsible taken before the law. Such an action would have reassured all concerned that the law would prevail. The busing of Sinhala students away from Jaffna is a lily livered response that would encourage the extremists in the North and confirm the worst fears of the Southerners. This is no way to consolidate reconciliation. If an example of what should be done is required, one only needs to observe how the USA, the apogee of the Foreign Minister’s inspiration, is dealing with the current wave of Afro-American unrest. It is with a robust armed police presence and the strict enforcement of the law that the USA will seek to prevent the situation from getting out of control.

It may be a case of deja vu. But it is difficult not to notice the tinder of ethnic discord slowly piling up waiting for a single spark to ignite it. In the past separatist groups have deliberately and as a part of their strategy encouraged ethnic clashes to gather recruits to their cause.

It is also be difficult not to draw the conclusion that the UNHRC resolution was not really an attempt to consolidate human rights and restore good governance but a thinly disguised endeavour to destroy the iconic super hero status, especially of the victorious Sri Lankan soldier, and reduce it to the level of a common criminal. The Foreign Minister’s solicitous and breathless anxiety to comply with the demands of the West and the Tamil expatriate groups may well have contributed to realizing this goal.

When the country needs volunteers the next time, they may not be there!

Dr Keitel writes regularly on Sri Lankan issues to Asian Tribune –

– Asian Tribune –

5 Responses to “The Foreign Minister Samaraweera Must Go”

  1. plumblossom Says:

    Mangala must be replaced by a patriotic foreign minister. Actually Ranil, Sirisena, CBK traitors must be replaced too. However Mangala must be replaced as soon as possible. A country’s government should first and foremost look after the country’s security. sovereignty, territorial integrity and in the case of a small country such as Sri Lanka its unitary status. Mangala has betrayed Sri Lanka by accepting the UNHRC resolution which no country with any integrity will accept. Mangala must realise that those LTTE terrorists who massacred the citizens of this country for over 26 years simply because they wanted a large chunk of this island for themselves, illegally, that they should be dealt with in a very careful manner without betraying the security. sovereignty, territorial integrity and in the case of a small country such as Sri Lanka its unitary status, even if extremely powerful forces such as the US,UK, EU, Canada, Sweden, Norway and India are behind the LTTE terrorists. In addition, we must place forth the argument that those who settled in the island quite recently only during the past few hundred years i.e. the Sri Lankan Tamils who are only but 11.2% of the population do not have any rights whatsoever to demand over 28% of the land area, 66% of the coastline and 66% of the vast ocean resources which belong to Sri Lanka. This message should be conveyed to the TNA, the separatist terrorists and those who support them i.e. the US,UK, EU, Canada, Sweden, Norway and India as soon as possible so that they understand our position. This is the task of a foreign minister. Mangala therefore has betrayed Sri Lanka and must go. Sri Lanka cannot afford large self ruling entities which are illegal anyway since this island as a whole belong to all its people in total. It is the foreign minister’s task to covey this message to everyone concerned.

  2. plumblossom Says:

    The missing persons commission, the name is a misnomer. it should be called ‘those combatants on all sides who died in the war i.e. Sri Lankan Forces, Police Force. Civil Defence Forces, IPKF, Tamil Armed Groups against the LTTE and the LTTE terrorists themselves and whose bodies have not be found’. Therefore the name itself is wrong and invented by the UNHRC to tarnish the image of the armed forces of Sri Lanka.

    The missing persons commission to date has receive 24,000 complaints from 1983-2009 period. Of this number over 5,000 are regarding missing Sri Lankan Forces members, whereabouts unknown, almost certainly executed by the LTTE terrorists. Over 12,000 complaints are against the LTTE itself recruiting young persons by coercion. Therefore over 70% of complaints are against the LTTE itself which amounts to over 17,000 complaints. The rest of the complaints are I am sure about the whereabouts of LTTE combatants or terrorists who died while fighting but whose bodies have not been found.

    My question is, why cannot the UNHRC the US,UK, EU, Canada, Norway, Sweden and India accept that Sri Lankan Forces, Police Force, Civil Defence Forces, IPKF, Tamil Armed Groups against the LTTE and the LTTE terrorists themselves died fighting in this war and leave it at that. What is the point in looking for these combatants now? Why is it that the UNHRC the US,UK, EU, Canada, Norway, Sweden and India never ever talk about the over 35,000 Sri Lankan Forces, Police Force, civil Defence Force members who died in the war? or the 1,200 IPKF members or the over 2,000 Tamils Armed Groups against the LTTE members who died in the war? or the over 6,000-7,000 Sinhala civilians and even Muslims civilians who were massacred by the LTTE? or the around (my estimate) over 3,000 Tamil civilians massacred by the LTTE?

    Why is it that the UNHRC the US,UK, EU, Canada, Norway, Sweden and India is not concerned about the over 10,000 Sri Lankan Forces members permanently disabled by the war, or the over 23,000 Sri Lankan Forces members both temporarily and permanently disabled by the war? or the over 136,000 Sri Lankan Forces members who were injured due to the war?

    Why is it that the UNHRC the US,UK, EU, Canada, Norway, Sweden and India not concerned about the over 65,000 Sinhala people and over 75,000 muslims ethnically cleansed from the North?

    Why is it that the only the around 35,000 LTTE terrorists who died inclusive of Prabhakaran are the concern of the UNHRC the US,UK, EU, Canada, Norway, Sweden and India? Perhaps this missing persons commission should answer that question first.

  3. plumblossom Says:

    Even if the constitution will be changed since this idiotic government follows whatever instructions the US, UK, EU, Norway, Canada, Sweden, India, the TNA and the separatist terrorists tell it to do, we must ensure that the unitary status of the country is not compromised in any way whatsoever. The clause in the 13th amendment which says that ‘the North and the East is the homeland of the Tamil speaking people’ must be deleted since it is totally false when looking at the history of the island. This clause must be replaced with the clause ‘the entire island is the homeland of all its peoples’. The provision which allows for the merger between two provinces should be deleted. As much subjects from the concurrent list should be included in the national list. Under no circumstances should land, police or fiscal powers be given to provincial councils. All of us need to ensure that the above happens since if the system reverts back to a parliamentary system and the presidential system is scrapped, the only way to ensure the unitary status of the country is the make sure that the provincial councils do not get any more powers than they have at present. The Public Security Ordinance should not be amended in anyway as well. If any provincial councils acts out of line, the head of government should dissolved such a provincial council and direct rule by the head of government should be enforced under those circumstances.

  4. plumblossom Says:

    I would please urge any person who has any influence whatsoever with Ranil, Mangala, Sirisena, CBK to let them know that these Western Countries i.e. the US,UK, EU, Canada, Sweden, Norway and India will only back off if Sri Lanka takes a very firm stance and refuses to carry out this unjust UNHRC resolution. Sri Lanka must do this without any fear since I am sure if Sri Lanka takes a very firm stance and refuses to carry out this unjust resolution the UNHRC, the US,UK, EU, Canada, Sweden, Norway and India will back off. I can guarantee that will happen. So it is up to Sri Lanka or rather Ranil, Mangala, Sirisena, CBK whether they are going to place our Sri Lankan armed forces in jeopardy for crimes they did not commit or whether they are going to defend the country’s armed forces and the country’s sovereignty, independence, freedom, integrity, unitary status etc. by refusing to carry out this unjust UNHRC resolution which no country on this planet earth with any integrity will carry out. However, if they keep complying with whatever unjust demands are made by the US,UK, EU, Canada, Sweden, Norway and India, they will have to keep complying with those unjust demands at the expense of Sri Lanka breaking up into pieces and placing the Sri Lankan people’s security in jeopardy. Sri Lanka will end up being partitioned too.

  5. Cerberus Says:

    I salute Dr. Mathias Keitel who is a foreigner but appears to love the country more than our Yahapalanaya group. Basically, the Yahapalanaya group realized that they can come into power and remain in power if they do the bidding of the West and India who wish to divide the country and take its resources. India wishes to absorb Sri Lanka and several other smaller countries are being targeted by India for taking over using puppets they have installed in power.

    I agree with Dr. Keitel that the Foreign Minister must go. Queen Elizabeth said that the best letter for reference a person has is his or her face. Our Foreign Minister looks as if he has been carousing the night before permanently. His eyelids look heavy and the body is bloated with excessive food and drink. Therefore his face is certainly not a good reference. This man co-sponsored the UNHRC resolution without any approval from the Parliament or the President. I am not sure if the Prime Minister advised him. Whoever did it has committed a grave crime against the country and the war heroes who saved the country from a monster who subjected the Sinhala people to hell on earth for almost 30 years? He also made a statement stating that CH4 videos are true when it was proven conclusively that the video was a doctored video and the original video was available showing that the LTTE had taken a video of their own men shooting Sinhala soldiers and dubbed it with Sinhala voices. See http://www.terrorinlanka.com.

    So long as the West and India support the Yahapalanaya they will remain in power unless the people rise up in rebellion. If that happens there will be another brutal suppression of the rebellion as has happened in the past and the same Govt members of the UNP, who put down the earlier rebellion are now in power. The baby-faced butcher of Batalanda who is supposed to have killed at least 15,000 by horrific torture is now the Prime Minister even though the Commission which inquired into the Batalanda torture house recommended that Ranil’s civic rights be removed. This time, they will be assisted by Indian and Western troops who will take over the country in the guise of “Protecting Democracy”.

    The longer the situation is going on the worse it is getting for the people. After the Central Bank scam by Arjun Mahendran which filled the UNP coffers with billions of Rupees, the Yahapalanaya is trying to cover the countries losses by bringing in VAT and other forms of excessive taxation on the poorest of the poor. To keep the charade of Democracy they have a bunch of uneducated MPs in the Parliament who are kept happy by giving them insanely luxurious benefits plus tax-free car permits worth Rs 25 million on the open market. Anyone who opposes the Govt is dragged to the FCID and remanded in jail while the charges are being filed. I have not heard of any other country where people are first jailed and then the case is heard years later. Two years have gone by of this tragedy and can someone tell me what this bunch of puppets installed by foreign countries has achieved for Sri Lanka?

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