Posted on June 11th, 2009

Piyal Samarakone – Dubai

Being a diplomat in this part of the world is nothing but living in Eldorado and probably the most comfortable and lucrative way of spending latter part of one’s life.

This prestigious and highly responsible assignment for most of the diplomats is a paid vacation and the norm of the diplomacy itself become quiet an oblivion subject for them.

When most of the countries regard this highly important diplomatic mission as the mirror image of the country’s national and international policy, in Sri Lanka being a diplomat is simply a priceless gift from God.

We experienced the lack of diplomacy applied by our own ambassadors during last three decades particularly due to lack of knowledge and not concerned kind of attitude. Totally we cannot blame the diplomats but the politicians who appointed them. There were times cinema icons sent for these diplomatic missions simply because they were kith & kin of the leader. When husband is reluctant to take up the post it goes to the wife, no matter what credentials she bears.

Our awkward diplomacy for decades cost us a lot more than one can imagine, when Lawrence Thilakar was going great guns in Paris we did not even make any attempts to curtail that vicious campaign although our leader had close ties with Paris, so did in London under Anton Balasingham. The scenario was no different in DC, Ottawa or in Canberra. During that period total responsibility lied on one person that of Mr. Luckshman Kadirgamar who fought a solitary battle against all odds during the most difficult times in the international arena.

At present Sri Lanka may be not blessed with people like Kadirgamar but fortunately we have some quality diplomats of caliber of Dr. Dayan Jayetilleke. He has done a remarkable job and we are confident that he will continue the good work. Appreciation should go to President as well who extended his tenure disregarding some speculations that he will be brought back. That is exactly what country expects from a good leader.

Most of the ambassadors in West are mere ceremonial figure heads than true diplomats. We witness that when ever they appear on TV screen to address the issues pertaining to our international policies or security matters. Not only they failed to deliver what Sri Lanka wanted to deliver but lacked in articulation as well.

Although we see some positive developments in the diplomatic missions recently, the overall strategy to counter the malicious and vicious campaign against us politically and economically must be dealt with by appointing able men.

To promote and develop further ties with militarily important states to Sri Lanka is vital and we should not send world renowned artists to these countries to achieve expected results. In the past we have seen states which are important to Sri Lanka in terms of tourism we assigned people with military backgrounds as diplomats.

This pickle kind of diplomacy has gained absolutely nothing back to Sri Lanka, it is not only a waste of time but certainly tarnish our already dented image internationally further.

Since we have clearly identified our foes and allies after the conclusion of three decades of conflict, it’s high time to put diplomatic missions in complete rigid restructuring process in order to achieve our objectives internationally. Failing to do so mean the battle half won and the country will remain in eternal diplomatic doldrums.

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