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* Learn the needs of your country, Sri Lankan President tells diplomats

July 08, Colombo: It is necessary to acquire a deep understanding of the country and learn its many assets, goals, needs and challenges it is facing, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has told the country's diplomatic core yesterday.

"Since you are appointed to represent your country, it is necessary that you first acquire a deep understanding of your own country its many assets, its short, medium and long term requirements and the problems and challenges it faces," he has said addressing a two-day workshop in Diyatalawa Saturday for Sri Lanka's ambassadors, high commissioners and consul generals.

He has told the country's overseas representatives that they must have a have a "readiness, a willingness and capability" to persuade others about the needs of Sri Lanka, and how Sri Lanka can contribute to other countries, regions and to the world.

"The functions of diplomacy are fast changing today and it also leads to significant and far reaching changes to the role of the diplomat," the President has said adding that the role of a diplomat is not anymore one of ceremony alone.

President has asked the diplomats to face up to their challenges through knowledge of culture which will help them to take Sri Lanka on the way forward.

He has emphasized the need to forge strong bonds with neighboring countries while maintaining friendship with all countries. While adhering to a nonaligned foreign policy priority should be given to the basic requirements and aspirations of the country, he has noted.

"You are the symbol and embodiment of our country. Live up to the standards this demands," the President has told the envoys. The three-day workshop for the country's diplomats to inform them of government policies and overseas political alliances commenced on July 7th. The participants will be touring the Eastern province tomorrow (09) and will participate in the third day session in Kilinochchi before returning to Colombo on 10th.

(Photos by Sudath Silva)

Source  Sun, Jul 8, 2012, 10:44 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.