President rejects request to extend terms of five envoys



A request from the Foreign Ministry to grant permission for four ambassadors and one high commissioner to complete a three-year tenure beyond the retirement age of 60 has been turned down by the President’s Office.

Permission had been sought for these heads of missions – one of them who has already completed the date of retirement and four others who will be reaching retirement age by next year — to complete the three-year term.

However, a decision has been taken not to grant any extensions keeping with a government policy that public sector employees should retire at the age of 60.

Several other Foreign Ministry requests have also been turned down.

The Foreign Ministry had taken up the position that permission should be granted to complete the three-year tenure in the case of Heads of Mission appointed from the Sri Lanka Foreign Service, despite the revision of the retirement age.

The Ministry also has cited the practice of allowing Heads of Mission appointed from the Foreign Service to complete their full tenure of three years after reaching 60.

Extensions had been sought in respect of Ambassadors P.M. Amza (Riyadh), Grace Asirwatham (Brussels), A. Sabarulla Khan (Oman) and S.D.K Semasinghe (Warsaw) and High Commissioner A.M.J. Sadiq (Maldives).

The Ministry had recommended that Mr Amza be allowed to complete his tenure till October 2024, Ms Asirwatham till June 2023, Ms Semasinghe till June 2024, Mr Sadiq till January 2025 and Mr Khan till September 2025.

In a related development, instructions have gone out to increase the number of professionally trained and experienced Sri Lanka Foreign Service officers to be posted as Heads of Mission overseas.

Currently, less than 50 percent of the Heads of Missions are from the Foreign Service.

(Sunday Times)


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