Penetrating Reflections on Sri Lanka’s Response to the GENEVA BALLET

Arising from “THE GENEVA BALLET: The Ranil-Mangala Treachery and Sirisena’s Intervention,” 31 March 2019, ….


ONE = from Gus Mathews, 2 April 2019

Rajeewa, Thank you for this well researched analysis. It is a well-known fact that if the ‘Western Governments’ requested RW to jump, his reply would be ‘how high’. On a serious note though according to the Sri Lankan constitution is not foreign affairs the sole province of the President who acts through the foreign minister? Any interference into foreign affairs by the Prime Minister must be sanctioned directly by the President. It is also a well-known fact that RW hankers after the powers of the President as he tried on numerous occasions to be elected President and failed dismally. Hence the framing of the 19th amendment that subtly decreased the powers of the President and enhanced the powers of the Prime Minister.

Despite this impediment ‘foreign affairs’ is still the sole province of the President. As you have stated this act of ‘rolling over’ to the diktats of the UNHRC without the express permission of the President could be construed as treason by the Prime Minister. The President is within his powers to dictate to Parliament and the Prime Minister to not interfere in foreign affairs and follow this up with any sanction within his remit to enforce compliance.

In the end the President’s authority prevailed at the UNHRC and RW and the former foreign minister Mangala Samaraweera are left with ‘egg on their faces’. It is now left to the President to ensure that his authority in the aegis of foreign affairs is not usurped in future.

TWO = from Prithi Perera, 3 April 2019

Lord Naseby has commended the statement of the Foreign Minister at the Geneva assembly and for using the discreet charm of the hypocritic diplomacy! So has erudite MP Dr Sarath Amunugama, who has much experience in dealing with multilateral agencies.

All in all, Mother Lanka appears to be getting lengthened breathing space at the assemblies, despite the huge push  by the diaspora in those Western countries.

A comparative analysis of the approaches adopted by the respective governments and the results achieved would be interesting to read.

THREE = Response from Rajeewa Jayaweera, 3 April 2019

Gus / Prithi

Despite what I wrote in my piece ‘Games before UNHRC Resolution/a last-minute bipartisan consensus’, the fact remains SL’s Ambassador signed the ‘roll-over resolution’ which makes it binding to all that is stated in the document. Sirisena, Ranil, Mangala, Marapana, et al. are all playing games

Fortunately, Sirisena’s kneejerk reaction of sending his team to look into the possibility of withdrawing from 30/1 was thwarted. Only a novice such as Sirisena can think of withdrawing from a resolution in the first week of March without having done any preparatory work in the run-up. A call to withdraw would have resulted in a floor test in which SL, not having done any leg work would have been resoundingly beaten and humiliated.

While applauding Marapana for his speech, had he been genuine, he should firstly, not have permitted the meeting summoned by Mangala S on 6 February in the Finance Ministry, certainly not with representatives from the sponsor countries in attendance. Furthermore, he should not have attended. Besides, why did he not take his Foreign Secretary?  DG/UN who did attend was none other than Maheshini Colonne, the former spokesperson who belittled Naseby’s revelations. She is also the sidekick of former pro-US Foreign Secretary Prasad Kariyawasam who has now been appointed Foreign Relations Advisor to Speaker Karu Jayasuriya, the Speaker, and darling of the western embassies in Colombo (also one of the three possible UNP candidates in Presidential elections – why does a Speaker need a Foreign Relations advisor???).

The fact is, both Prez and Mangala are stating partial truths. Prez was told on 8 February by Mangala and Marapana; the government was seeking two additional years to implement 30/1 which he had acknowledged. However, Mangal and Marapana did not give Prez a copy of the Resolution which was 2015 all over again. Constitutionally, the Prez is in charge of foreign relations but if the poor man does not understand the subject, what does one do? After the 2015 30/1 fiasco, why did not Prez place a caveat requiring his approval on all matters related to 30/1 (and all other foreign projects such as the East Container Terminal which Ranil promised to Modi of India without Sirisena’s concurrence)?

I feel all this is political grandstanding in the run-up to elections. Unfortunately, we do not have a single political party to politicize the Geneva Resolution and take it to the villages, explaining in simple language to the people. That is the only way to mobilize the rural vote and get the mandate roll-back (not roll-over!)  the Geneva  Resolution. That is the only way to make lackeys of the west such as Mangala irrelevant.  

The campaign to roll-back 30/1 must start now and put to a floor test in 2021. But who will give leadership and direction to such a move? None of them are sure of being in office beyond another one year.  That is why I feel, after all the congratulations and back slapping has subsided, it will be back to business in the same ld way of doing nothing!


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