We shot ourselves in the foot – Dayan Jayatilleka

We shot ourselves in the foot – Dayan Jayatilleka

July 9, 2010   01:43 pm


Foreign policies cannot be formulated on the streets and diplomacy cannot be achieved through protests and blackmails said Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka, Former Ambassador/Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations at Geneva, speaking to Adaderana today.



He made this statement, commenting on the protests and the hunger strike going on outside the UN office in Colombo.



The only use for the hunger strike is that it serves to expand Wimal Weerawansa’s waste plan, asserted Dr Jayatilleka. He said since, Wimal Weerawansa is a responsible cabinet minister his actions will reflect very badly upon Sri Lanka.



As for the protests going on outside the UN office and taking the employees as hostages, such actions are extremely damaging to the image of Sri Lankaamong the rest of the world, he claimed. He said that this situation will isolate us from the international community and we will gain no sympathy from other countries for these awful actions.



Dr. Jayatilleka said that these actions violate the international norms of conduct and will damage the legitimacy of Sri Lanka. He added that, while we have the right to resist UN General Secretary Ban Ki Moon’s decisions, we shouldn’t do it in such an uncivilized way.



“We will not have much sympathy from the international community if we try to blackmail international institutions,” he reiterated.



He opinioned that while he thinks that the expert panel is unnecessary, we should neither underestimate it nor overestimate it.



Dr. Jayatilleka said that since Sri Lanka is a democratic nation and we have not engaged in any actions that violated the international laws nor have we taken over any other country, there is absolutely no need for this panel.



However he said that Ban Ki Moon can have an expert panel to advise him about anything if he wants and that is his business. He added that the panel does not necessarily violate the Sri Lankan sovereignty.


While Sri Lanka has the right to resist such interference from international organizations, he said, the way to resist this is not protesting on the roads. In order to dissolve the panel, we need to win over the opinion of major states of the UN he said. The opinion of the other countries cannot be swayed by such actions and this is not the way for diplomacy, he added.



He said that G. L. Peries is a fine foreign minister and he should not be embarrassed in front of the world in this way.


Speaking about the GSP plus issue, Dr. Jayatilleka said that it was our own fault that we lost the trade concession. He said the former foreign minister Rohitha Bogollagama paved way to this when he removed the trade expert who had successfully won over the trade benefit for us.



“With this, we shot ourselves in the foot,” Dr, Jayatilleka said.



He said the second mistake we did was to wait until the EU imposed these conditions on us. He said after the war we should have resolved these human rights issues ourselves and removed these obstacles without waiting till international organizations prompted us to do so. He said if we had taken these actions, we would not be in this position.



“I don’t see any reason for the emergency to continue one year after the war,” he said. “There should be a difference between war Sri Lanka and peace Sri Lanka.”



He said now we have to be very careful because the same thing could happen with the US GSP and we simply cannot afford to lose both trade concessions. He said job losses are never a good thing and along the road the situation could even result in an economic depression.



He also opinioned that while the tone of the EU conditions is certainly an insult to us, these conditions are in the best interest of Sri Lanka.



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