18 March 2003

New Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka Presents Credentials

VIENNA, 18 March (UN Information Service) -- The new Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations (Vienna), Dayantha Laksiri Mendis, presented his credentials today to Antonio Mario Costa, Director-General of the United Nations Office at Vienna (UNOV).

Mr. Mendis is also the new Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Austria with concurrent accreditation to Bosnia-Herzegovina, Czech Republic, Hungary, Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro, Slovenia and Slovakia.

Until recently, Mr. Mendis was Legal Adviser to the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva. Earlier he served as Executive Director, Bandaranaike Centre of International Studies, Sri Lanka. For 18 years he was a Commonwealth Fund Technical Cooperation (CFTC) Legislation Expert, a UN Legal Expert at the United Nations Department of Technical Cooperation for Development (UNDTCD) in New York, and a high-level International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Legal Consultant in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean region. He represented the latter organizations or States in multilateral or bilateral negotiations.

Mr. Mendis has published books and articles in many leading journals on diverse topics, including Constitution-making, offshore banking, the UN system and Mini States, et al. He has played a key role in drafting important legislation in many Third World countries in such spheres as banking, environment, labour, industrial development, drug-trafficking, and human rights.

Mr. Mendis received a law degree from the University of Ceylon, and became an attorney-at-law of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka. He obtained a postgraduate degree in International Relations (M. Phil.) from the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom. He subsequently served as a Research Scholar at the University of Cambridge and at The Hague Academy of International Law and Relations.

Mr. Mendis is married and has a daughter.

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