Sri Lankan envoys to learn handling pro-LTTE lobby

Sri Lanka`s top diplomats are facing flak for failing to counter adverse propaganda against their country by pro-LTTE lobby.

Colombo: Facing flak for failing to counter adverse propaganda against their country by pro-LTTE lobby, Sri Lanka`s top diplomats posted overseas have been summoned home to take part in a workshop aimed at helping them better handle the island nation`s foreign policy.

The External Affairs Ministry officials said the two-day resident workshop will take place at the hilly resort of Diyatalawa this weekend.

It will be attended by senior ministers and top officials of the External Affairs Ministry, apart from Sri Lanka`s ambassadors, high commissioners and consul generals.

"The diplomats will be better geared to handle foreign policy and relations in a positive frame of mind. The emphasis would be on getting the maximum from Sri Lanka`s missions towards economic development and promoting investment," an official source said.

Sri Lanka has generally been on the back foot in the international arena since the conclusion of the conflict with the LTTE three years ago.

The island faced accusations of human rights violations and was the subject of high profile international actions such as the appointment of a UN panel of experts and the last March`s adoption of a resolution against it at the UN Human Rights Council.

Sri Lankan diplomats, a sizeable number of them political appointees, have faced flak in the recent times for failing to counter adverse propaganda.

Critics argue that the missions, particularly those located in the West, had done little to counter the powerful pro-LTTE lobby in the respective capitals.

Senior officials say apart from the growth in tourism, Sri Lankan diplomats have been found wanting in promoting the country in the new conflict free environment in order to attract adequate levels of foreign investment into the island and to counter anti-Sri Lanka lobby.

The diplomats are to tour eastern province from the beginning of next week to see first-hand the government`s development drive launched in the province since the LTTE`s threat was eliminated.

At the end of the war in May 2009, the government launched `nagenahira udanaya` or the awakening of the East programme in the province, which envisages economic and infrastructure development.


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