Non-resident envoys to be appointed soon: Mangala

Published : 10:32 am  February 7, 2017 | No comments so far |  | 


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By Lahiru Pothmulla
A number of non-resident ambassadors would be appointed to selected countries as envoys of Sri Lanka, instead of resident ambassadors, Foreign Affairs Minister Mangala Samaraweera said yesterday.

“Cabinet approval had been granted to go ahead with the concept. The appointments would be made in the near future,” he said.
He said that these non-resident ambassadors would travel to assigned countries occasionally on their own expense.

Addressing the re-launching ceremony of the Consular Affairs Division at the Ceylinco Building in Colombo 1, the Minister said they were ready to shut down Missions which were inefficient. “In addition we will not be hesitant to open up new Sri Lankan missions in countries where there is a need. This is why we recently opened an embassy in Ethiopia, where the African Union has its headquarters. Ethiopia has the potential to transform as the political capital of the Continent. We will also open a Consulate General in Cyprus, where there are many Sri Lankans. We have also received requests to establish a Consulate General in Madagascar,” he said.

When revamping and streamlining the Foreign Service, the re-launch of the Consular Affairs Division also play a major role, the Minister said.

The Consular Division which had been ‘reengineered’ with the assistance of the Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA) moved to its new location on Level Two of the Ceylinco building in Fort yesterday.

Speaking at the re-launch, Deputy Minister Dr. Harsha De Silva said citizens who had to endure a lengthy process of certifying their documents needed to be used in foreign countries use, could get their documents certified within 10 minutes now.

He said the main objective of reengineering the division was to reduce the transaction cost of certifying documents.

“Though a person has to pay a Rs. 500 or Rs. 1,500 to certify a certificate, he/she have to incur about Rs. 5,000 especially if they were coming from the remote area. This cost has been reduced by reengineering the division,” Deputy Minister Dr. De Silva said.

He said foreign missions used to re-authenticate certificates and other documents, which were certified by the Consular Division as any third party was able to remove or alter the certified documents. 

“This loop hole has been eliminated,” he said.

During the event, Architect Diran Damith Fernando was awarded with a token of appreciation for the service he provided to relocate the division free of charge.

Ministry Secretary Esala Weerakoon, Consular Affairs Division Senior Director General S.S. Ganegama Arachchi, ICTA representatives and other officials were also present.