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New replacements for recalled diplomats soon

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The government hopes to soon finalize the appointments of a majority of diplomats who would be replacing the recalled ‘political appointees’ as Heads of Mission.

Speaking to The Nation, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ajith P. Perera, stated the government hoped to finalize the majority of the appointments of the Heads of Mission within the next two weeks. These appointments need to be ratified by the Parliament’s Committee on High Posts.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has so far recalled 65 non-career diplomats appointed by the previous regime to represent the country overseas. Accordingly, 29 Heads of Mission and 36 Non-Heads of Mission have been recalled. The Heads of Mission were the first to be recalled.

Among those recalled are Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to United Nations in New York. Others who have been recalled include Heads of Mission in Canberra, Islamabad, Moscow, Tehran, Riyadh, Tel Aviv, Rome, Paris, Warsaw, Tokyo, Seoul and Bangkok.

However, there have been concerns that due to the large number of political appointments and non-recruitment of junior officers to the Foreign Service, it would be difficult to speedily replace the vacant posts with career diplomats. Minister Perera though, said there were enough competent officers to undertake the task.

Perera also said they were awaiting results of the last examination that was conducted to recruit officers to the Foreign Service. The examination was conducted in June of last year. “We have been informed that the results are with the Public Services Commission. We are waiting for them to finalize the list of names of candidates who have qualified. Afterwards, they will be called for interviews,” he added.

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