The Norwegian Embassy in Sri Lanka will be closed


The Norwegian Embassy in Sri Lanka will be closed

Friday, September 9, 2022, 8:17 p.m. SL time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

September 9, Colombo: The Norwegian government has decided to make structural changes to its network of diplomatic missions abroad, the Norwegian Embassy in Colombo said in a press release.

As stated in a press release (Changes to Norwegian diplomatic presence abroad – from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs today, this involves a strengthening of several Norwegian embassies in Europe and beyond.

As part of these reforms, it was also decided to permanently close five Norwegian diplomatic missions abroad, including the Norwegian Embassy in Colombo, by the end of July 2023. The Norwegian Embassy in Colombo is also accredited in the Maldives.

The decision to close the embassy in Colombo has no impact on bilateral relations between Norway and Sri Lanka. The Norwegian Government remains determined to pursue the development of friendly and constructive relations between our two countries.

To ensure the continuation of the long-standing and friendly bilateral diplomatic relations, Norway intends to accredit a Head of Mission and assign diplomatic staff based in another Norwegian Embassy in the region to cover Sri Lanka.

“I am sad to share the news of the planned closure of the Norwegian Embassy in Colombo,” said Norwegian Ambassador Trine Jøranli Eskedal. “This is the result of a wider process to determine how the Norwegian Foreign Service should be set up to deal with the changing geopolitical environment and protect Norwegian interests and is not related to Sri Lanka. in particular. We will continue to maintain our warm bilateral relations with Sri Lanka. Development assistance will also continue,” she stressed.

Norway has provided aid to Sri Lanka since the 1960s. However, as Sri Lanka transitioned to middle-income country status, Norwegian aid to Sri Lanka was gradually reduced. However, Norway continues to support several ongoing long-term development programs, such as support for employment and food security in the Northern Province.

In 2021, total Norwegian development aid to Sri Lanka was NOK 59.7 million (approximately LKR 2150 million), of which NOK 21 million (approximately LKR 756 million) was channeled through the embassy. In response to the current economic crisis in Sri Lanka, last month Norway provided humanitarian aid totaling NOK 13 million (approximately LKR 490 million) to Sri Lanka through United Nations organizations .

Once the Norwegian Embassy in Colombo is closed, consular services in Sri Lanka will be provided by another Norwegian Embassy in the region. There is already a visa center in New Delhi that handles Sri Lanka and Maldives visa applications, and applicants can visit a VFS office in Colombo for visa appointments.

Norway opened the embassy in Colombo in 1996, having had a Norad office in the country since 1976. Historically, an important part of the rationale for Norway’s presence in Sri Lanka was tied to Norway’s role in the peace and reconciliation process.


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