News

Heads vacant in key SL missions overseas: Moragoda to assume duties in India soon 

  • No new nominee yet for SL’s mission in Canada 

By Yoshitha Perera

 

Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner Designate to India Milinda Moragoda is scheduled to assume duties in the said post, which has been vacant for over a year, at the earliest, The Sunday Morning learnt from the Foreign Ministry. 

Furthermore, subsequent to Attorney General (AG) Dappula de Livera declining a proposed appointment to Canada as Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner, a nomination for the Lankan diplomatic mission in Canada is yet to be made, an official from the Foreign Ministry informed The Sunday Morning. 

Even though India has not objected to the appointment of former Minister Moragoda as Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner to India, the position has been vacant for more than a year.  

The post of the High Commissioner in New Delhi, which is one of the most vital and also desirable diplomatic positions, has been vacant since January 2020 after Austin Fernando, who was appointed to the post in 2018, returned to Sri Lanka.  

In March this year, during a cabinet media briefing, Co-Cabinet Spokesman Udaya Gammanpila said that the Cabinet of Ministers had not been informed of any objections raised by New Delhi regarding the arrival of Moragoda as the Sri Lankan High Commissioner to India. 

However, it is learnt that Indian authorities had expressed concerns over moves by the Government of Sri Lanka to give minister status to the post of High Commissioner to India.  

Meanwhile, last Wednesday (6), de Livera had turned down an offer to serve as the Sri Lankan High Commissioner to Canada. While thanking President Gotabaya Rajapaksa for proposing him for the said appointment, de Livera had conveyed that he wishes to remain in Sri Lanka to serve the public.

Earlier, retired Air Force Commander Air Marshal Sumangala Dias was nominated as the Sri Lankan High Commissioner in Ottawa, Canada. However, the Canadian Government did not approve the nomination. 

Dias has now been named as the Sri Lankan Ambassador to Italy.  

Canada is a member of the Core Group on Sri Lanka at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) and the country had welcomed the UNHRC Resolution on promoting reconciliation, accountability, and human rights in Sri Lanka which was presented on 23 March. India, meanwhile, abstained from voting for the said Resolution.