The Sri Lankan government spent over $100 million in hiring US lobbying firms in an attempt to improve its international image following the launch of an UN inquiry into mass atrocities.
Following Thompson Advisory Group LLC (TAG) and Majority Group, the government has now hired the Madison Group and Beltway Government Strategies, reported Ceylon Today.
Madison Group, which has been hired until June 2015, is "assisting the Ministry of External Affairs with creating situation awareness of current affairs in Sri Lanka", the paper said.
When asked about the millions spent on lobbying the US, Monitoring MP for the Ministry of External Affairs Sajin Vass told Ceylon Today:
"Not only in the USA, the Ministry of External Affairs continues to engage with the international community in communicating with the current developments in Sri Lanka and addressing issues that are faced by us. This is our job, is there anything wrong in us performing our duties and obligations?"
"You must also understand that USA works very differently to that of Sri Lanka and the rest of the world. The Executive, the Senate and the Congress are totally detached from each other. Opinions are made; policy is formulated based on the extent of lobbying that is done by interested parties on various issues. In their system Congress and Senate base their decision-making on this. I must admit that Sri Lanka has not been very successful in placing ourselves properly in this context. We cannot try to implement a method as we are used to here, instead we have to follow the practice in the USA.
I don't see anything wrong in this. We need to get our message across. Our adversaries basically have caucuses every week on issues pertaining to Sri Lanka. Therefore, whilst we need to counter this we need to also get it across that there is another side of the story a legitimate one. Is there anything wrong in this?"
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