Ravinatha to be replaced before crucial March Geneva session State Minister Senanayake says Sri Lanka’s foreign policy is being decided overseas


By Shamindra Ferdinando


Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative in Geneva Ravinatha Aryasinha will be replaced with diplomat A. L. A. Azeez before the Geneva sessions scheduled to commence on February 26 and run through March 26.


Well informed sources told The Island that Aryasinha had been transferred with effect from Feb. 28, even before the Parliamentary Committee on High Posts examining the suitability of the person designated as PR in Geneva.


Sri Lanka’s UPR (Universal Periodic Review) would be adopted during the forthcoming session, sources said, adding that the outgoing human rights chief Zeid bin Ra’ad al-Hussein was scheduled to present a mid-term assessment on implementation of Geneva Resolution 30/1 co-sponsored by Sri Lanka on Oct 1, 2015.


The Parliamentary High Posts Committee has called for public representations in respect of Azeez appointment in addition to four other appointments. Representations will be accepted till January 22, 2018.


Aryasinha has been stationed overseas for many years and earned the wrath of some for strongly opposing consultations on the draft resolution in late Sept 2015 before Sri Lanka was coerced into co-sponsor it.


Sources pointed out that the change would take place amidst Lord Naseby’s call to amend the Geneva Resolution adopted on the basis of unsubstantiated war crimes allegations.


Sources said the government was yet to make representations to Geneva in the wake of Lord Naseby’s Oct 12, 2017 revelations though the British member recently appealed to Geneva on Sri Lanka’s behalf.


Recently, State Foreign Minister Wasantha Senanayake said that he had problems in respect of Sri Lanka’s foreign policy. Senanayake said that it seemed Sri Lanka’s foreign policy was being decided overseas. The Gampaha District MP was addressing 91 F.R. Senanayake commemoration in Colombo.


Senanayake said Lord Naseby, who had courageously represented Sri Lanka’s interests was attacked by an influential sections of Sri Lankans including the Foreign Ministry.


An irate State Minister said that they had been compelled to work with a group bending over backwards to appease those wanting to press war crimes charges in accordance with the Geneva Resolution. Senanayake said that he would continue to fight for the country.


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