In Order To Deal With Senior UN Officials
By Mandana Ismail Abeywickrema
Sri Lanka’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN in New York, General Shavendra Silva has been granted a diplomatic promotion by the government following a Cabinet decision.
The government maintains that he has been granted ambassadorial status in order to enable him to deal with senior UN officials.
Following the government’s move to grant General Silva an ambassadorial position in the diplomatic service, he will now enjoy the same status, salary and other perks enjoyed by the head of the mission.
However, General Silva will remain as the Deputy of the Sri Lankan mission. Sri Lanka’s mission in New York is headed by Permanent Representative, Dr. Palitha Kohona. An official from the External Affairs Ministry confirmed to The Sunday Leader that General Silva has been granted an upgrade to the rank of ambassador.
“For a career diplomat, ambassadorial status would result in the official’s next appointment being that of ambassador.
However, in this instance, General Silva is on a contract and his appointment would grant him similar status and perks enjoyed by the ambassador while holding the post of a deputy head of mission,” the official explained.
General Silva took up office as the Deputy Permanent Representative to the Mission in New York this year after performing the role of Commander of the Sri Lanka Army’s 58th Division during the final war against the LTTE.
He took the lead in capturing several former LTTE strongholds including the Mannar Rice Bowl, Nachchikudha, Devils Point, Pooneryn, Kilinochchi, Elephant Pass, Vishvamadu and Puthukkudyiruppu.
According to the External Affairs Ministry, the government has decided to get General Silva to play an active role when dealing with UN officials since he was a key player in the final stages of the war against the LTTE where the government is now being accused of committing war crimes.