COLOMBO (New 1st); The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, after careful consideration, has taken the decision to temporarily close three of its missions / posts abroad, namely the Sri Lankan High Commission in Abuja, Nigeria; the Sri Lankan Consulate General in Frankfurt, Germany; and the Sri Lankan Consulate General in Nicosia, Cyprus; with effect from December 31, 2021.
The decision, which received Cabinet approval, is part of a process of restructuring Sri Lanka’s network of missions and posts abroad led by the Foreign Ministry.
The restructuring is undertaken with the aim of maintaining the country’s indispensable foreign exchange reserves and minimizing the expenses associated with maintaining Sri Lanka’s missions / posts abroad, while ensuring the effective conduct of bilateral relations, in the context of serious economic challenges posed by the global pandemic crisis.
Upon closure of the three identified missions / posts, their functions, including the maintenance of bilateral political, economic, cultural relations as well as consular functions, if any, will fall under the purview of the accredited persons and, in the case of Abuja and Nicosia, Resident High Commissions / Embassies of Sri Lanka.
In this regard, steps are underway to simultaneously accredit Nigeria through the Sri Lankan High Commission in Nairobi, Kenya; and other African countries accredited simultaneously through the Sri Lankan Mission in Abuja, through the Sri Lankan Embassy in Cairo, Egypt and the High Commission in Nairobi, respectively.
The functions of the Sri Lankan Consulate General in Frankfurt, including the promotion of trade, investment and tourism, as well as consular matters of Sri Lankan nationals living and working in Frankfurt and the surrounding area, will fall under the purview of the Sri Lankan Embassy in Berlin, Germany.
Simultaneous accreditation of Cyprus through the Sri Lankan Embassy in Rome, Italy will continue, with the latter managing Sri Lanka’s bilateral relations with Cyprus in accordance with current practice.
The consular functions managed by the Consulate General in Nicosia will be placed under the responsibility of the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Rome.
However, given the significant consular and social requirements of the Sri Lankan employee community of around 6,000 people living and working in Cyprus, which must be met on a regular basis, steps are being taken by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to immediately appoint a duly qualified honorary member. Consul based in Nicosia.
The Honorary Consul so appointed will operate under the direction of the Sri Lankan Embassy in Rome and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in close coordination with the State Ministry for the Promotion of Overseas Employment and Diversification of Jobs. markets and the Sri Lanka Overseas Employment Office.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will closely monitor the transition process in Cyprus in order to resolve any issues, if any, and to offer additional solutions if deemed relevant and necessary for the foreseeable future.
Notwithstanding the cost-cutting measures, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs continues to give the highest priority to maintaining bilateral relations with all countries at an optimum level, in order to achieve the government’s foreign policy objectives with special emphasis. on economic diplomacy, which involves the promotion of exports, direct investment, tourism and job creation abroad.
The ministry pays great attention to its mandate to protect the well-being and efficient functioning of Sri Lankan employees abroad, with due regard to their direct and significant contribution to the country’s economy in terms of shipments. funds abroad.
Ongoing assessment of the mission / position requirements against the achievement of objectives is undertaken by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs through a consultative process, both internal and external, involving high-level representation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Sri Lankan Heads of Mission / Post abroad, as well as relevant government institutions, including Ministries of Finance, Trade and Labor; the state ministries of regional cooperation and the promotion of employment abroad and the diversification of markets; the Department of Commerce, the Sri Lanka Export Development Board, the Sri Lanka Board of Investment and the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment, among other agencies.
The decision to temporarily close the three identified missions / posts is subject to ongoing review, and timely action will be taken to consider the reinstatement of the affected resident missions / posts if deemed necessary.