Sri Lanka nominates new ambassador to KSA

Updated 18 March 2014
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Sri Lanka nominates new ambassador to KSA

The Sri Lankan government has nominated former Colombo Mayor Mohamed Hussain Mohamed as the new ambassador to its embassy in Riyadh.
Mohamed Hussain Mohamed will succeed Vadivel Krishnamoorthy, who has been nominated as ambassador to the Lankan mission in Kenya.
Hussain Mohamed is the son of former Sri Lankan Speaker Haniffa Mohamed, a founding member of the Constituent Council of the Muslim World League in Makkah.
The ambassador-designate has also served the Western Provincial Council as its elected member. Currently, he is the vice president of the Colombo Islamic Center, which is affiliated to organizations such as the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), Muslim World League, Organization of Islamic Conference and the Karachi-based World Muslim Congress.
During his mayoralty stint from 1989 to 1991, he also served as vice president of the Asia Pacific Union of Local Authorities.
Sri Lanka set up its embassy in Jeddah in 1983 with Dickman De Alwis as its first charge d’ Affaires, where subsequently in 1993, the Saudi government reciprocated with a mission in Colombo appointing Abdullah Al-Zahrani as its charge d’ Affaires. Later in 1985, the Lankan embassy moved its location to the capital, Riyadh.
Former ambassadors of Sri Lanka in the Kingdom include the late M.R.M. Thassim, late A.L.M. Hashim, late Cader Markar, Izzat Ahamed, Javid Yusuf, Nowfel Salih Jabir, Ibrahim Sahib Ansar, A.M.J. Sadiq, late A.A.M. Marleen and Ahmed A. Jawad, who departed recently.
Outgoing Ambassador Krishnamoorthy was earlier attached to the External Affairs Ministry as its director general for the South-East Asia and SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation).
His last overseas posting was as the deputy high commissioner for Sri Lanka in Chennai, south India. He succeeded Ambassador P.M. Amza who completed his three-year posting here and moved to London as the deputy high commissioner and is now the island’s ambassador to Brussels.
Krishnamoorthy had earlier served as high commissioner at Dhaka (Bangladesh) and completed his three-year term before he was cross-posted to Chennai.
He hails from Nuwara-Eliya, (also known as little London) and did his schooling at the prestigious Hatton Highlands College.
He holds a degree from the University of Peradeniya followed with a postgraduate diploma in Educational Management and Master of Arts in Foreign Affairs and Trade from Monash University, Australia.
Krishnamoorthy carries a rich experience of over 33 years of public service, which includes more than 20 years in Foreign Service where he held a wide range of posts. He was in Bangladesh (2006-09).
Before that he was the Director-General of the UN and Multilateral Affairs Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for two years (2004-06).
He also attended the 60th United Nations General Assembly Session in New York and the Board of Governors Meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna.
Krishnamoorthy had earlier served in The Netherlands (2001-04) and China (1992-97).
While serving as the Minister Counselor at the Embassy in The Netherlands, inter alia, he functioned as the deputy permanent representative to the Organization of the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
He has also worked as the director of East Asia desk, deputy chief of protocol (1999-2001, assistant director/ West desk (1992) and director of the Sri Lankan Institute of International Relations (2004-06).
Krishnamoorthy is married with two daughters. He speaks Tamil, Sinhala, English and Chinese.


Motorsport, rock bands, tourists … welcome to the new Saudi Arabia

There was an explosion of joy at the podium when Antonio Felix da Costa lifted the winner’s trophy at the conclusion of the Formula E Saudia Ad Diriyah E-Prix on Saturday. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 16 December 2018
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Motorsport, rock bands, tourists … welcome to the new Saudi Arabia

  • Three-day event at Ad Diriyah reaches spectacular climax in an unprecedented spirit of openness

The driver with the winner’s trophy was Antonio Felix da Costa — but the real winners were Saudi Arabia itself, and more than 1,000 tourists visiting the country for the first time.

Da Costa, the Andretti Motorsport driver, won the Formula E Saudia Ad Diriyah E-Prix in front of thousands of race fans at a custom-built track in the historic district on the outskirts of Riyadh.

But in truth, the event was about much more than high-tech electric cars hurtling round a race track — thrilling though that was. The three-day festival of motorsport, culture and entertainment was Saudi Arabia’s chance to prove that it can put on a show to rival anything in the world, and which only two years ago would have been unthinkable.

The event was also the first to be linked to the Sharek electronic visa system, allowing foreigners other than pilgrims or business visitors to come to Saudi Arabia.

Jason, from the US, is spending a week in the country with his German wife, riding quad bikes in the desert and visiting heritage sites. “I’ve always wanted to come for many, many years ... I’m so happy to be here and that they’re letting us be here,” he said.

Aaron, 40, a software engineer, traveled from New York for two days. “Saudi Arabia has always been an exotic place ... and I didn’t think I’d ever be able to come here,” he said.

About 1,000 visitors used the Sharek visa, a fraction of what Saudi Arabia aims eventually to attract. 

“Hopefully we will learn from this and see what we need to do for the future, but I can tell you from now that there is a lot of demand,” said Prince Abdul Aziz bin Turki Al-Faisal, vice chairman of the General Sports Authority.

His optimism was backed by Kirill Dmitriev, chief executive of the Russian Direct Investment Fund and a visitor to Ad Diriyah. “Such events will attract tourists and are a true celebration for young Saudis who desire a bright future,” he said.

“The vision of moderate Islam, promoted by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is important both for the region and the entire world, and its realization needs to be appreciated, respected and supported.”

The event ended on Saturday night with a spectacular show by US band OneRepublic and the superstar DJ David Guetta. “Just when you think things can’t get better, they suddenly do,” said concertgoer Saleh Saud. “This is the new Saudi Arabia, and I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen next.”