7:24 AM

Who will be the new Foreign Secretary?

Foreign Secretary Dr Palitha Kohona will leave for New York early next month to take up his new post as Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, informed sources said.
At the time of going to press it was not clear as to who will replace him as Foreign Secretary.
The official government website also announced on Friday that Dr. Kohona, will shortly assume duties as the Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations, New York.

The incumbent Sri Lankan Permanent Representative in New York H.MG.S. Palihakkara was scheduled to return to Colombo over the weekend for personal reasons prior to completing his term there.
It is also still not clear who will fill the vacancy in Geneva as the Country’s Permanent Representative to the UN there. Dr Dayan Jayatillake was recently recalled without any official explanation.

Foreign Ministry sources said the Geneva slot is likely to be filled by either Aruni Wijewardena or Prasad Kariyawasam, both are senior career diplomats. Kariyawasam has already served a stint in Geneva as the country’s Permanent Representative
It was only in March this year that Jayatillake was given a one year extension.

It is believed that Jayatilleka’s sudden recall is over his getting entangled in public debates over some sensitive domestic issues.
Meanwhile, Jayatilleka yesterday denied rumours that he is to be the next Ambassador to Cuba. He added that the Government of Sri Lanka has not contacted him after informing that his tenure in Geneva will end on August 20.

“I have not been appointed, nor approached, nor has this been mentioned to me at all by anyone in the Government. I think this is merely a rumour without foundation,” Jayatilleka said. “I have had no communication from GOSL following the fax conveying my dismissal,” he added.

Earlier this week media reports circulated stating that Jayatilleka would be appointed as Sri Lanka’s ambassador in Cuba replacing Ms Tamara Kunanayakam. Last month Jayatilleka’s tenure as Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations came to an abrupt end as he was informed that his term in Geneva will end on August 20.

Meanwhile, senior diplomat Ms. Kshenuka Seneviratne is now tipped to assume duties as Sri Lanka’s ambassador to Rome. The current ambassador there attorney at law Hemantha Warnakulasuriya is expected to complete his term shortly.