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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2674

Northern Provincial Council Election 2013: Ambassador Amza’s Role in Calming the EU

Hemantha Abeyeardena writes from London…

As The Asian Tribune reported on Thursday, Ambassador Amza, Sri Lanka’s Head of Mission to the EU, informed a delegation of the European Parliament who handle the relations with the countries in the South Asia, the ground realities surrounding the forthcoming election.

As the people in the north of Sri Lanka are about to exercise the universal suffrage in the absence of the protracted war, Mr Amza presented the delegation with the staggering number of individuals involved -906 in total - who are contesting the election on many fronts to win one of the 36 seats, a monumental achievement in the name of democracy.

There are going to be over 700,000 registered voters and more than 20 international observers to monitor the poll, according to the veteran diplomat.

Ambassador Amza was referring to the report submitted by the delegation of MPs from the European Parliament who had visited Sri Lanka in July 2013. He hailed the discussion held by the delegation with the government of Sri Lanka, which the former described as ‘constructive engagement’. It, in fact, is a far cry from the earlier stance taken by the European Parliament in 2011, following a visit to the island nation the same year – ‘cautious re-engagement’.

Mr Amza, in his address, argued that the incorporation of 53 more recommendation from the LLRC report in July shows that there was no room for diluting the implementation on the basis of the lowest common denominator, as the previous EU parliament delegation feared in 2011. Ambassador Amza informed the delegation about the evolving process which needs time for its natural progress.

While defending the presence of the Sri Lankan army in the Northern province, Mr Amza explained the constructive role played by the institute in the process of demining, welfare of the war-affected families, complementing the role of the police in maintaining the law and order and above all, rebuilding the infrastructure throughout the region.

That is a slap in the face for those who highlight the boots on the ground in isolation while turning a blind eye to the services they provide to the masses. Ambassador Amza went on to say that demobilization would take place in proportion to the progress made in the sphere of national security and strategic concerns, as it is the case in any other nation.

Mr Amza, a gifted pragmatist, worked tirelessly when he was the deputy High Commissioner for the Sri Lankan High Commission in London during the last phase of the civil war, while serving the motherland in the most turbulent period of his career. He once even risked his life while serving as the deputy High Commissioner in Chennai, when unruly elements targeted the diplomatic convoy to vent their fury , while knowing that the Tigers were losing the war.

Just as individuals need social contacts for survival, Mr Amza is a diplomat who has realized the need for establishing the good relations with other nations for a nation to survive in the brutal world of politics, which often do not function in a linear fashion. The methods he adopted and techniques he used collectively helped us in keeping the tide of venom at bay to a great extent, especially just after the war.

The fact that the European Parliament changed its stance from ‘cautious re-engagement’ to ‘constructive engagement’ within a period of two years, clearly shows that Ambassador Amza and his team, have once again been instrumental in winning us friends in the hour of need – and through a combination of sheer dedication, unique diplomatic skills and above all, team-play.

- Asian Tribune -

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