Foreign minister Ali Sabry has been accused of nepotism after a picture showed his son with the Sri Lankan delegation to the 78th UN General Assembly in New York.
The picture posted on X has been circulating on social media with public questioning as to why Sabry's son is part of the delegation to the UNGA.
Although nepotism has become a custom in Sri Lanka, Sabry released a statement defending his son’s presence there.
He said that having seen the concerns raised on social media, on the presence of my son at a couple of bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the UNGA, I would like to place the following facts.
"In addition to my responsibilities in assisting H.E. the President with his high-level engagements, as the Foreign Minister I maintain a demanding schedule during my visits to the UNGA and Washington D.C. This itinerary comprises delivering ten interventions and speeches, engaging in three public events, and participating in numerous bilateral and multilateral meetings. The extensive workload necessitates thorough research, writing, and meticulous preparations.
To support Ministers in fulfilling their respective duties, each of us benefits from a Minister's bureau, comprising both paid and voluntary contributors. He has assisted me as a research assistant and a draft writer on an ad hoc, voluntary basis at my request for a period of time. During the UNGA, as he currently pursues his studies in the United States, he volunteered to join to contribute his time & expertise for a few days.
I am pleased to acknowledge that his contributions assisted me in preparing me for these crucial engagements. Importantly, neither the Foreign Ministry nor the Government of Sri Lanka has expended a single rupee on his behalf, either for his involvement in these engagements or at any other time. His contribution has been entirely voluntary, entailing zero cost to the taxpayer.
I firmly believe that the public has every right to seek accountability from their representatives, and I am committed to providing the facts for your informed judgment, said the minister.