MP Mahinda Wijesekera’s brother Piyasiri in
Havana, a former UNP Mayor of Colombo, Omar Kamil, in Teheran
and Faiz Mustapha in London survived a purge of political
appointees heading Sri Lankan missions abroad retaining their
jobs at least for the time being.
But former ministers Rupa Karunatilake,
U.B.Wijekoon and Ariya B. Rekawa are among the politicians and
close associates and relatives of senior UNPers who are to be
replaced on the recommendation of Foreign Minister Lakshman
Kadirgamar through a scheme recently approved by President
The change-over was expected to take place in a
few months, well informed sources said. "Some incumbent heads of
missions are desperately trying to extend their terms."
Several career officers heading missions are
also to be given fresh assignments abroad or return to the
M. J. Palipane will replace career officer
(retired) C.D. Cassie Chitty in Germany, N. Sikander will
replace V.K.Valson (political appointee) in Sweden, B. A. B.
Goonetilleke takes over from career officer Geetha de Silva in
Canada, Ranjith Uyangoda replaces career diplomat Karunatilake
Amunugama in Japan.
The proposed changes were announced as
Kadirgamar finalised plans to visit Tokyo. Japan’s deep
involvement in the peace process, particularly the economic part
of it, has underscored the need to strengthen the mission in
Mrs. Pamela J Deen replaces former Minister Rupa
Karunatilake in the Netherlands and Prasad Kariyawasam moves to
New York as Permanent Representative to the United Nations.
Kariyawasam who headed the Permanent Mission in Geneva returned
to the ministry this year. Currently he functions as the
Director General, Economic Affairs Division.
A. M. J Sadiq takes over from career officer I.
Ansar in Saudi Arabia, Mrs. Aruni Wijewardena replaces Laksiri
Mendis (political appointee) in Austria, Mrs. C. Wagiswara takes
over from career officer Ananda Gunasekera in France, W. M.
Seneviratne replaces former Minister Ariya B. Rekewa in the
Philippines and M. Mahroof replaces Dr. A.N.Haniffa, son-in-law
of UNP MP M.H.Mohamed, in Oman.
Retired career officer, N. Navaratnarajah would
take over from former PA MP Chula Bandara in Poland.
The proposed appointments represent the largest
single batch of career officers appointed as Sri Lanka
Ambassadors in the recent past, ministry sources said.
Neville Ranasuriya, former Chairman, Employers
Federation of Ceylon, Institute of Personnel Management, Brooke
Bonds Ltd. and Director, MJF Group, with 42 years experience in
the tea trade has been named as Ambassador to the Russian
Federation. He replaces former Minister U.B. Wijekoon. Russia is
one of the world’s biggest tea buyers.
During the past two years, the career service
Heads of Mission accounted for only about 40%. The present and
forthcoming appointments will make it to go beyond 60%.
Both Piyasiri Wijesekera and Dr. A.N.Haniffa had
held previous diplomatic appointments, in France and Bangladesh