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Government confirms temporary closure of three missions overseas

a year ago

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Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that, following careful consideration, it has taken a decision to temporarily close three of its Missions and Posts overseas. Accordingly, the Sri Lanka High Commission in Abuja, Nigeria; the Consulate General of Sri Lanka in Frankfurt, Germany; and the Consulate General of Sri Lanka in Nicosia, Cyprus will be closed with effect from 31 December 2021. It said the decision, which has received the approval of the Cabinet of Ministers, is part of a restructuring process of Sri Lanka’s network of Missions and Posts overseas, carried out by the Foreign Ministry. “The restructuring is undertaken with a view to conserving the country’s much-needed foreign reserves and minimising expenditure related to maintenance of Sri Lanka’s Missions / Posts overseas, while ensuring the effective conduct of bilateral relations, in the backdrop of the grave economic challenges posed by the global pandemic,” the Ministry noted. Upon the closure of three identified Missions and Posts, their functions, including maintenance of bilateral political, economic, cultural relations, as well as consular functions as relevant, will come under the purview of accredited, and in the case of Abuja and Nicosia, non-resident High Commissions/Embassies of Sri Lanka. In this regard, action is in process to concurrently accredit Nigeria through Sri Lanka’s High Commission in Nairobi, Kenya and the other countries in Africa concurrently accredited through the Sri Lankan Mission in Abuja, through Sri Lanka’s Embassy in Cairo, Egypt and the High Commission in Nairobi, Kenya, respectively, the Ministry said. The functions of Sri Lanka’s Consulate General in Frankfurt, Germany, including trade, investment, and tourism promotion, as well as consular matters of Sri Lankan nationals living and working in and around Frankfurt, will come under the purview of the Sri Lankan Embassy in Berlin, Germany. The concurrent accreditation of Cyprus through the Sri Lanka Embassy in Rome, Italy will continue, with the latter handling Sri Lanka’s bilateral relations with Cyprus as per current practice. The consular functions handled by the Consulate General in Nicosia will be brought under the purview of the Sri Lanka Embassy in Rome. “However, considering the significant consular and welfare requirements of the approximately 6,000-strong Sri Lankan employee community living and working in Cyprus, which need to be addressed on a regular basis, action is being taken by the Foreign Ministry to appoint forthwith a suitably qualified Honorary Consul based in Nicosia,” the Ministry stated. The Honorary Consul thus appointed will function under the direction of the Sri Lanka Embassy in Rome and the Foreign Ministry, in close co-ordination with the State Ministry of Foreign Employment Promotions and Market Diversification and the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE), the statement said. The Foreign Ministry said it will closely monitor the transition process in Cyprus in order to address issues, if any, and provide further solutions if deemed relevant and necessary in the foreseeable future. Notwithstanding cost-cutting measures, the Foreign Ministry further noted that it continues to attach highest priority to the maintenance of bilateral relations with all countries at optimum level, to meet the foreign policy objectives of the Government with special focus on economic diplomacy, which entails the promotion of exports, foreign direct investment (FDI), tourism, and foreign employment generation. The decision to temporarily close the three identified Missions and Posts is subject to continuous review, and action will be taken in due course to consider reinstatement of relevant resident Missions and Posts as deemed necessary, the Ministry concluded.

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