He also requested all staff to redouble their efforts and rededicate themselves to serve the motherland with commitment, determination and steadfastness. The Ambassador also emphasized the importance of keeping members of the Sri Lankan community engaged at all times with a view to promoting Sri Lanka’s image and interests in the host country. Speaking on the occasion, Ambassador Rodney Perera thanked the staff for the warm welcome and expressed his optimism that the relations between the two countries would be further strengthened and expanded encompassing all conceivable areas of interest during his tenure. Ambassador – designate of Sri Lanka to the United States of America, Rodney Perera assumed duties at the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Washington DC. Prior to appointment as the Ambassador to the US, Ambassador Perera was Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Belgium, Luxembourg and the European Union. Upon arrival at the Embassy in Washington DC, Ambassador Perera was welcomed and greeted by the staff. His assumption of duties was marked by a simple ceremony which commenced with the lighting of the ceremonial lamp by the Ambassador and other diplomatic staff and traditional Sri Lankan milk rice and sweet meats being served on the occasion. Ambassador Perera, a member of the Sri Lanka Foreign Service for over three decades, held senior posts in Sri Lanka Missions abroad and in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He held the post of Additional Secretary and was the Ministry Spokesman from 2013 – 2014. Ambassador Perera also served as Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Norway from 2009 to 2012 and to Italy from 2003 – 2007.Ambassador Rodney Perera holds a Master’s Degree in International Relations from Columbia University, New York. He is also the recipient of “Grande Ufficiale – Ordine Della Stella Della Solidarieta” (Grand Officer of the Order of the Star of Italian Solidarity – highest Italian civilian honor), bestowed by the President of the Italian Republic in May 2007.
“It is a matter of deep regret that negotiations were brutally stopped and violence is now rife again when a comprehensive agreement seemed close at hand,” Mr. Brahimi, Joint Special representative of the UN and the League of Arab States, said in a statement to journalists.Recent discussions between the authorities and a Negotiating Committee representing those in the city, as well as inhabitants of the Al-Waer neighbourhood, “were followed with keen interest and great hope by people all over Syria,” Mr. Brahimi noted.The Government Media of Damascus wrote “very positively” about the process, he added.However, the negotiations stalled and violence has since resumed and escalated to what Mr. Brahimi described as “a theatre of death and destruction.” “We have reached out to all those who could help put an end to this tragedy,” he said noting with alarm.In February, some 1,350 men, women and children – more than half of the estimated 2,500 who have suffered the years-long siege – were evacuated from the Old City of Homs, and food moved in as part of a “humanitarian pause,” according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).Under that agreement, women, children and the elderly were allowed out but not men over 15 and under 54 years of age.Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and other top UN officials have repeatedly called for a political solution to the conflict, now in its fourth year. They also warned that the conflict is acutely felt by neighbouring countries and could push the entire region into region. Mr. Ban recently appealed to Arab League members – working with Russia, the United States and the UN – to re-energize “Geneva II,” as the most recent Swiss-hosted discussions between the Syrian Government and main opposition group are known.Two rounds of talks earlier this year, the first in January followed by a second round in February, saw both sides sticking to their positions and yielded only modest cooperation on a humanitarian issue related to aid access in the Old City of Homs.