ISLAMABAD: Sri Lanka’s new president has recalled more than 50 diplomats from across the globe who were seen as “political” appointments made by the former regime.
The diplomats those recalled including high commissioner to Australia, Admiral Thisara Samarasinghe, and UN representative Dr Palitha Kohona, a dual Australian-Sri Lankan citizen.
The purge is part of a global restructuring of Sri Lanka’s foreign service, The Gardian reported on Wednesday.
New president Maithripala Sirisena, who defeated incumbent Mahinda Rajapaksa in a shock result in January, campaigned on a promise to recall ambassadors he saw as political appointments.
Reports in Sri Lanka said the list of those summarily removed included “relatives of politicians and of public officials closely connected to those in the former regime”.
The Sri Lankan high commission in Canberra confirmed the diplomats had been recalled.
Across the world, Sri Lanka’s foreign ministry recalled 27 heads of missions, and 51 diplomats in total.
Included in the purge were envoys to Pakistan, Japan, Russia, Thailand, Afghanistan, South Africa, Israel, Iran, and Turkey.
Further inquiries to the Sri Lankan high commission in Canberra were directed to the foreign affairs ministry in Colombo. Comment has been sought from the foreign ministry.