As soon as the Presidents of Sri Lanka are sworn in, they keep their fingers crossed go to New York and address the United Nations General Assembly. That trip to New York is like going to heaven. But President Ranasinghe Premadasa, who did not go to New York to address the United Nations General Assembly even once after becoming President. He went there as the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka on a special invitation from the United Nations in New York in 1987 to announce the International Year of Housing. It was Premadasa’s concept. The United Nations accepted it and invited Premadasa to announce the Houseing Year.
Apart from that, after becoming the president, for the 04 years in office he had the opportunity to address the United Nations General Assembly as the country’s head of state. But he didn’t go for it. During his presidency, he went on foreign trips only two or three times, such as to the SAARC summit in Bangladesh and to open a village in Bodh Gaya, India.
However, the quotas for garment industry, which is the main source of foreign exchange for Sri Lanka today, were not obtained by going to New York or London or Paris, but the most competent officials from Sri Lanka were sent to those countries for that purpose. Introduction of cellular phones to Sri Lanka, laying the basic foundation for internet connections, approving funds from the Asian Development Bank to build the Colombo-South Expressway, were led by officials from the Sri Lankan Presidential Secretariat, president without setting foot to any foreign country.
“Rather than wasting the time and money spent on going to a foreign country, Mr. Premadasa’s skill is to send experienced officials who know about the subject and get the job done quickly…”
This is a story told by a former senior government official in the Premadasa government.
He didn’t do politics where he met state leaders, shook hands, took pictures and selling them to people….’
A government official comented. It is not known if he made a passing remark to the current President Ranil. But when you look at Ranil’s trips as president, all those trips are to sell notion ‘the world is with him.
The best example is Japan tours. He went to Japan to attend the funeral of the former Prime Minister of Japan. Went there and met the Japanese Prime Minister and the Emperor. Then recently went to a conference organized by a Japanese media agency. There he also met the Prime Minister of Japan. Yesterday the Japanese foreign minister came to Sri Lanka after many years and that visit shows that Ranil went to Japan to change the bad situation caused by Gota’s government’s decision to cancel the light rail project and Ranil has again got Japan to get agree for foreign aid for investment.
Ranil went on his first visit to Japan and made a statement that he would convene a conference in Japan to restructure Sri Lanka’s debt. When Ranil went to Japan and addressed the parliament and said that Japan is ready to hold such a conference, the Japanese foreign minister said that Japan did not agree to hold such a conference.
Ranil went on his second visit to Japan and told the news media that Japan is ready to start the light rail project. But the Japanese Embassy in Sri Lanka said that Japan will not touch any project until Sri Lanka’s debt is restructured.
After the Japanese foreign minister came to Sri Lanka, the government said that Japan expressed its interest in starting the light rail project and a number of other projects. However, Japan’s Deputy Director General of Media and Diplomatic Affairs, Yukito Okago, made a special statement and said:
There was no discussion about special projects including the suspended light rail project in Sri Lanka. President Ranil Wickremesinghe presented several projects for consideration in Japan. But what is important for Japan at this time is to quickly complete the restructuring of Sri Lanka’s debt. No more loans can be given to a debt burdened country….’
This statement makes it clear that both of Ranil’s trips to Japan were not fruitful trips. The other thing she says without saying is to settle the debt before taking more loans. She further says that taking more loans is not good for Sri Lanka.
Next, Ranil’s government made a big statement that after closing the road to the airport; a super delegation of Americans came to Sri Lanka and met Ranil late at night. It was said without saying that the C.I.A. chief has come. No matter whom the boss is, American President Biden has not yet congratulated Ranil. While bragging that the boss had arrived, the US Senate announced that local government elections in Sri Lanka should be held immediately. It was like a blow to Ranil’s ear.
Now the latest boast is French President Macron’s visit to Sri Lanka. Ranil went to the airport to meet the French President who had come to refuel as a transit on his way to several countries including Papua New Guinea. Earlier, the South African President also refuelled his plane and came to Sri Lanka for a transit and became a VIP at the airport terminal. Knowing that it was his birthday, Ranil took a cake and went to the airport. But neither the French president nor the South African president came out of the airport. Thus, the leaders of the different states arrive at transit lounges of airports while on transit. It is just to relieve the tiredness of traveling. But no other state leaders stop all their work goes to the airports to receive them.
Ranil is doing this to show that he is a leader who is accepted by the world. The French President is currently being described by the French media as the most unpopular president of France. In a recent opinion poll, it has been revealed that 70% of the people of the country reject him. The Guardian newspaper says that he is hiding in the presidential palace and is afraid to attend public events. The reason is that in the two or three public events he attended to, people booed him.
‘It would be surprising if he didn’t hear a hoot wherever he went…’
This is the Guardian newspaper. The media of the country says that the French President is trying to improve his international image by going around the world instead of going inside the country. He brought the bankrupt countries of the world to France and organized a big economic conference in France to intervene to restructure the debts of those countries to show that he is a big fighter in the world. Although he invited all the world leaders to that conference, only a few people came. Because Sri Lanka is also a bankrupt country, Sri Lanka also received an invitation. That’s how Ranil went to France. In the end, only the heads of state of the bankrupt countries went to the conference.
In view of that, the former President Chandrika has visited France three times during her term of office on the invitation of the French President. The then French President Jacques Chirac gave her the highest recognition and showed the world that she was a friend of France. She went to France and met the President not by going to conferences with the heads of state of other countries, but based on an invitation she received. Agreements were also signed between the two countries. Joint statements were issued. She travelled there in December 2000. March 2001 and then October 2005.
They are historical tour. When they came to the airport to refuel, that is not a historical trip, but like the Rajapaksa people sold religion and made politics, it is called the politics of feeding upon the world leaders.