President’s UN list has more than 50 names

President Mahinda Rajapaksa will lead a high-powered delegation of more than 50, mostly politicians, for the United Nations General Assembly sessions in New York beginning september 23.

The list, currently under circulation, is expected to change with some subtractions and more additions. As befits tradition, the delegates will be housed at the ritzy Ritz Carlton Hotel in mid-town Manhattan.
According to government sources, some of the senior security personnel in the delegation will include those who were in the forefront of the battle against the LTTE. The trip to New York is being viewed as a reward for the services they rendered to the country.

As of last week, the list of delegates compiled by the Presidential Secretariat and the Foreign Ministry included: Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagamma, Ministers Sarath Amunugama, Champika Ranawaka, Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, Vinayagmoorthy Muralitharan, Dulles Alahapperuma, Presidential Secretary Lalith Weeratunga, Presidential Advisor Basil Rajapaksa, deputy ministers Faizer Musthapha, Sachindra Rajapaksa (UPFA’s chief minister candidate at yesterday’s Uva provincial council election), NFF leader Wimal Weerawansa, Foreign Secretary Palitha Kohona, former Navy commander Wasantha Karannagoda (secretary to the Higways Ministry), Aruni Wijewardena, Sachin Vass Gunawardene, A.H.M. Azwer, Lucien Rajakarunanayake and some of the senior security personnel who helped defeat the LTTE.

First lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa may also join the team, the sources said. If so, her security and support staff of around 12 would also be in the Sri Lankan team.

UN sources said President Rajapaksa is scheduled to be the ninth speaker on the opening day of the UN General Assembly sessions on Sept. 23.

The morning sessions will have a list of star-studded speakers led by Brazilian President Lula da Silva, US President Barack Obama, President Nicholas Sarkozy of France and Libyan leader Muammar el-Qaddafi, who will be making his first visit to the UN.

The other speakers on opening day include the heads of state of Russia, China, Qatar, South Korea, Jordan, Algeria, South Africa and Uganda.

The Sri Lankan President is also due to address the one-day UN summit on Climate Change on Sept. 22.

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