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Sri Lanka to close embassies in Norway, Iraq, Consulate General in Australia from April 30 as economic crisis continues

ANI | Updated: Apr 05, 2022 18:20 IST

Colombo [Sri Lanka], April 5 (ANI): Amid the ongoing economic crisis in the country, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka on Tuesday has decided to close its embassies in Norway and Iraq along with the Consulate General in Sydney, Australia with effect from April 30.
"Following a recent decision by the Cabinet of Ministers, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has initiated action to temporarily close down the Sri Lanka Embassy in Oslo, the Kingdom of Norway; the Sri Lanka Embassy in Baghdad, the Republic of Iraq; and the Sri Lanka Consulate General in Sydney, the Commonwealth of Australia; with effect from 30 April 2022," a Ministry of Foreign Affairs statement said.
"The decision with regard to the temporary closure of the two Missions and Post was taken by the Government of Sri Lanka following careful deliberation. It is part of a general restructuring of Sri Lanka's diplomatic representation overseas, undertaken by the Foreign Ministry in the context of the current economic situation and foreign currency constraints faced by the country," the statement further said.
The move comes as the country deals with the worst economic crisis since its independence in 1948 with prices of essential commodities like fruits and vegetables skyrocketing.
The Sri Lankan government statement emphasized that the closure of the missions would not affect the bilateral relations of Sri Lanka with the countries.
"The decision to close the resident Missions in Norway and Iraq, undertaken as a temporary measure in the current context, would not in any way impinge upon Sri Lanka's bilateral relations with the two countries which are maintained at an optimum level of friendship and cordiality," the statement said.
Following the closure of the two resident Missions, the Ambassador of Sri Lanka in Stockholm, Sweden will be concurrently accredited to Norway, and the Ambassador of Sri Lanka in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates 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 in order to continue carrying out the routine work of the diplomatic missions.
Amid the unprecedented economic crisis in Sri Lanka, the leader of the Opposition, Sajith Premadasa has called for abolishing the Executive Presidential system.
Sri Lanka is battling a severe economic crisis with food and fuel scarcity affecting a large number of the people in the island nation. The economy has been in a free-fall since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sri Lanka is also facing a foreign exchange shortage, which has, incidentally, affected its capacity to import food and fuel, leading to the power cuts in the country. The shortage of essential goods forced Sri Lanka to seek assistance from friendly countries.
On Sunday, 26-member Sri Lankan Cabinet Ministers submitted resignations amid rising public anger against the government over the economic crisis.
Meanwhile, the 36-hour long curfew that was imposed on Sri Lanka on Saturday evening at 6 pm was lifted on Monday morning at 6 am but the country is still under a state of emergency. (ANI)