Government has a re-think

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By 2017-07-17

BY LEON BERENGER

The Government's bid to close down several diplomatic missions overseas has been put on hold following advice from senior officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs who claimed that the move could have an adverse impact on the country's interests.

Newly appointed Foreign Minister Ravi Karunanayake declared at a media meet recently that several Lankan Missions would have to be closed down since they were not economically viable. He did not name the Missions but added that the country must switch to more commercial diplomacy.

"The minister agreed to have a re-think on the matter after we advised him against the move citing the difficulties involved and the repercussions to follow from those countries.

Some of the countries that had been targeted for de-listing have large ongoing aid and other projects in the country and these would be adversely affected without any notice.

These things should be done in a proper manner without hurting the sentiments of friendly nations since it will only benefit the country", one senior Foreign Ministry official, who did not wish to be named told Ceylon Today.

He added that Foreign Minister Karunanayake had been advised accordingly towards this end.

However, he said that the Lankan Mission in the Seychelles is certain to get the axe and it will make way for the opening of an Embassy in Madagascar.

At present Sri Lanka maintains 60 Embassies and eight Consul General Offices in several countries.

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