Cash-strapped Sri Lanka has decided to temporarily shut its embassies in Norway and Iraq, as well as the country's Consulate General in Sydney, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Tuesday. A statement from the ministry said the decision will take effect from April 30. The Ministry said the decision of temporary closure of the two embassies and a consulate by the government came after careful deliberation and was part of a general restructuring of Sri Lanka’s diplomatic representation overseas. It comes in context of the current economic crisis and foreign currency constraints faced by Sri Lanka that has led to protests across the country and resignations en-mass from Sri Lanka's cabinet.
According to the statement, following the closure of the two resident missions, the Ambassador of Sri Lanka in Sweden's Stockholm will be concurrently accredited to Norway and the Ambassador of Sri Lanka in Abu Dhabi will be concurrently accredited to Iraq. The consular jurisdiction of the Consulate General in Sydney will revert to the High Commission of Sri Lanka in Canberra, Australia, the Foreign Ministry said. The ministry has assured that it will undertake appropriate measures to address all consular-related matters of Sri Lankan citizens residing in Norway and Iraq, and within the consular jurisdiction of Sydney, through the new accreditation as mentioned, as well as through the respective Honorary Consulates of Sri Lanka located in Norway, Oslo and Australia.
The ministry further stated that it will carefully monitor the transition process. The decision of closure of the resident missions undertaken as a temporary measure would not in any way impinge upon Sri Lanka’s bilateral relations with the two countries, the foreign ministry said.