All Sri Lankan ambassadors, high commissioners and consuls overseas have been summoned to Colombo by President Mahinda Rajapaksa to hear the government`s policy on a number of vital issues, including the peace process and ongoing defensive military measures.
Foreign Secretary H.M.G.S. Palihakkara told The Sunday Times that President Rajapaksa would be sharing his vision on development and the peace process with the diplomats.
The diplomats will be undergoing an intensive three-day session, which include discussions on routine matters like economic and cultural diplomacy, labour, consular and administraive matters.
The sessions begin on Wednesday with an opening address by President Rajapaksa and will include briefings from cabinet ministers, service chiefs, officials of the Secretariat Co-ordinating the Peace Process (SCOPP) and a meeting with the Parliamentary Consultative Committee on Foreign Affairs, Mr. Palihakkara said.
This will be the first briefing to the Sri Lankan envoys abroad by President Rajapaksa since being elected to office last November. Some 52 heads of missions overseas are expected to attend the meeting which will have separate sessions also covering regional issues. Envoys had been asked to purchase the cheapest economy class air tickets, but after appeals to the President and Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera by some political appointees, these instructions were reversed on Friday.
The Government`s austere fiscal measures come in the wake of huge expenditure incurred in taking a 65-member Presidential delegation for the United Nations General Assembly sessions last month, and a hugely costly failed attempt at having former Ambassador Jayantha Dhanapala elected as the next Secretary General of the UN.
The Sri Lankan envoys will, however, be booked into a five-star hotel in Colombo during their stay.
Special arrangements have been made to provide facilities for the Muslim heads of missions in view of the fasting period with special arrangements for early morning meals (Sahr) and breaking fast (Ifthar) at the five star hotel.