New envoy to take Tiger lobby head on
‘Foreign mission must play bigger role’:
COLOMBO: Sri Lankan Ambassador designate to the United States Jaliya
Wickremasuriya on the eve of his departure yesterday claimed that one of
his priorities as the country’s top diplomat in the US would be to map
out an effective campaign to counter false LTTE propaganda.
While emphasising that whichever Government was in power the US would
deplore terrorism in all its forms and manifestations Wickremasuriya
said that it was all about portraying the true picture effectively to
In an interview with the Daily News, Wickremasuriya said: “My first
intention is to transform Sri Lanka’s image from a country better known
for its calamities and disasters in the Western world to one which would
be fondly looked upon as a viable destination for leisure travel,
investment, trade and a place where foreigners could feel at home amidst
traditional Sri Lankan hospitality.”
The new Ambassador considers that foreign missions should play a
bigger role in international affairs without confining themselves to the
usual diplomatic practices.
His vision as a practical businessman is to run the office to
propagate Sri Lanka’s cause with the help of fellow migrants and staff
under several functioning arms such as public relations and welfare, a
promotional campaign which relays the true picture of the Government’s
struggle against terrorism and enhance image, promote tourism, trade,
investment and commerce with the expectation of enhancing bi-lateral
Sri Lanka’s former Consul General in Los Angeles who succeeds
incumbent Bernard Goonatilake as the next Ambassador to Washington DC,
also revealed his intention of bringing all expatriate Lankans in the US
under one banner to further the country’s cause.
According to Wickremasuriya he is already in the process of gathering
relevant data of all Lankans residing in the US and subsequently would
seek their help to form a common alliance to promote Sri Lanka in the US
in a productive manner.
Wickremasuriya intends to launch a mobile service covering all states
in the US in a bid to reach out to all Lankan expats in a more effective
manner to address their grievances and help them in their hour of need.
In addition the diplomat has also mooted a US-Sri Lanka economic
development forum which he initiated during his tenure as the Consul
General with the expectation of promoting trade, commerce and investment
between the two countries.
As a result a strong delegation of US investors is expected to arrive
in Sri Lanka shortly to exploit investment possibilities, Wickremasuriya
Wickremasuriya as Consul General in California was also instrumental
in organizing “Focus Sri Lanka-2007”- a trade, investment and tourism
exhibition last May, which according to many was an eye opener for US
investors and public regarding the true situation in Sri Lanka and
attractive vistas in the economic sphere.
The new Sri Lankan Ambassador is considered as a person who is
thoroughly conversant with the American terrain due to his long
association with the business environment in US. He has represented the
country and his company in over 40 countries promoting exports.