Diplomatic Desk : Tamara rejects transfer, hits out at ministry

Sri Lanka has paid a heavy price for the lack of cohesion as it was essential to project an image of unity rather than that of discord as the country prepares for important appointments at the UN Human Rights Council, said Tamara Kunanayakam, Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva.
 She mentioned this in a May 1 datelined letter sent to External Affairs Minister G.L. Peiris rejecting an offer to be transferred to another station.

“Your proposal to move me out only nine months after assuming duties as PR in Geneva, will suggest instability in our diplomacy and an ad hoc character, when, in a multilateral Mission, it is essential to display cohesion, unity and stability if we are not to be continuously on the defensive. If I were to accept your proposal, Sri Lanka will be the only country to have had four Ambassadors in three years, which is normally the minimum period of postings for envoys of other countries,” Ambassador Kunanayakam said. “Removing one of the very few Tamils heading diplomatic missions abroad will allow questioning of the bona fides of the Government’s commitment to reconciliation, will reinforce extremist elements on all sides, and validate the argument that mine was only a token appointment.”

She said it would convey the impression that those loyally carrying out instructions of the President and his Minister of External Affairs are being penalised precisely for this loyalty, whereas those responsible for compromising on principles, creating divisions, and undermining unity were rewarded.

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