Daily Archives: May 20, 2007
Mahinda-Mangala crisis deepens, broker Moulana ends up in hospital
UNP failing millions of people who face grim misery
The story doing the rounds in the corridors of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at Republic Square is about a telephone call its Secretary, Palitha Kohona, received from President Mahinda Rajapaksa last Wednesday afternoon.
A respected Sri Lankan, known to be a strong backer of the opposition United National Party (UNP), was being invited to the White House last week. Senior staff there was seeking his opinion on some issues. Rajapaksa asked Kohona whether it would not be prudent to persuade the fellow compatriot to say some good words on behalf of the Government. That is to be conveyed to key players at White House and would thus reach President George W. Bush.
At least that, the President perhaps felt, would offset the bad fall out from the tough message delivered to him only days earlier by Richard Boucher, US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs. As revealed in these pages last week, Boucher urged Rajapaksa to ameliorate human rights conditions, rein in paramilitary groups and respect media freedom.
Kohona, according to the story, replied that the man in question had been seeking a diplomatic appointment from the Government. “I am not averse to granting such an appointment,” he responded. What Kohona may not have known is that the President had, in fact, offered that Sri Lankan a posting in Washington. Then the President burst into laughter with a light hearted Sinhala remark in his stentorian voice “why not, when we have given diplomatic appointments to persons who cannot even stand straight.” There was more laughter and Kohona hung up thereafter. Whether the Foreign Secretary was able to persuade his fellow citizen to embark on a public relations exercise to create a brand new image for the Rajapaksa Administration remains to be seen.
But, this week, an embattled President Rajapaksa was Read the rest of this entry