Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for Sri Lanka

Newsline: Former Sri Lankan Ambassador to US released on bail

Former Sri Lankan Ambassador to the United States Jaliya Wickramasuriya who was held in remand custody for allegedly misappropriating funds allocated for purchasing a building for the Sri Lankan Embassy in USA, was ordered to be released on bail by Colombo Fort Magistrate. The suspect was ordered to be released on a cash bail of Rs.50,000 with two sureties of one million rupees by Magistrate Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne. He was further barred from leaving the country. The Financial Crimes and Investigations Division (FCID) alleged that the suspect had misappropriated the amount during the purchase of a building to house the Sri Lankan embassy at 3025, White Haven Street, Washington 20008.


Newsline: Spain to open an embassy in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister Minister Peiris said that the growing strength of the bilateral relationship between Sri Lanka and Spain is indicated by the decision of the Spanish Cabinet to establish a Spanish Embassy in Colombo. Spain’s Foreign Minister, in response to a request by his Sri Lankan counterpart, agreed to assist with regard to the expansion of Sri Lanka’s trade relations, especially in the field of cinnamon and other spices trade, with countries in Latin America with which Spain enjoys strong ties.


Newsline: Many Asians unhappy with embassies in Qatar

A rapid increase in the number of foreign workers recruited from Asian countries, especially in the construction sector, ahead of the 2022 Fifa World Cup, has put the embassies of their countries here in a not-so-comfortable situation, with more pressure on consular services and a rise in workers’ complaints. A random survey conducted by The Peninsula among members of different Asian communities shows that very few are satisfied with the performance of their embassies. Most respondents were critical of what they said were poor consular services provided by the missions. A Nepalese worker complained about delays in consular services at the embassy. An Indian expatriate said the Indian embassy had a lot to do to address the problems of the rapidly growing Indian expatriate population in Qatar. Most Sri Lankans this daily spoke to were bitterly critical of their embassy, its staff and services. Several Bangladeshis contacted for comment also said that they were upset by the “poor” treatment they got at their embassy. The Philippine embassy came out with flying colours in the Peninsula survey. Asked whether the embassy would come to their aid if they were in trouble, all the respondents in the survey said yes.


Newsline: Sri Lanka bars US diplomat

Sri Lanka has refused a top US women’s rights official entry to the country, just days after another senior envoy alleged Colombo’s rights record was deteriorating, the US embassy said Tuesday. US ambassador at large for women’s issues Catherine Russell was due to visit Sri Lanka ahead of a UN Human Rights Council meeting next month at which Colombo is due to face fresh censure. A US embassy spokesman said it was “regrettable” Colombo had refused to grant Russell a visa for the planned visit this month. The refusal came after Nisha Biswal, US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, told reporters on Saturday the US was concerned about the worsening human rights situation, during her visit to the island. Sri Lanka rejected the comments as “patently unfair” and accused Biswal of wanting to believe the worst about the island. Another US envoy, war crimes investigator Stephen Rapp, stirred controversy in Sri Lanka last month by visiting a former battleground. There was no immediate comment from Colombo over the refusal to grant Russell a visa.


Newsline: Sri Lanka’s government won’t summon US envoy over war crime tweet

The government has backed down from a move to summon US Ambassador Michele Sisson to the External Affairs Ministry to protest over a US embassy tweet which read that “Army shelling killed hundreds of families”. External Affairs ministry Secretary Karunathilleke Amunugama told the Sunday Times there was no move to summon Ambassador Sisson but the Government had sought clarification on the issue. Earlier, government sources said, External Affairs Minister G. L. Peiris would summon Ms. Sisson to express the Government’s displeasure over the tweet on the US embassy’s official portal. The tweet carried a photograph of Ambassador Sisson and Stephan J. Rapp, US Ambassador at-Large for War Crimes, at St. Anthony’s ground near Putumatalan. The US embassy has maintained that the tweet in question will not be withdrawn. In an email interview with the Sunday Times, US embassy Spokesperson Juliana A. Spaven said Ambassador Sisson toured a number of sites where battles took place in the final months of the conflict in 2009. These included the sites where there were accusations of major violations of international humanitarian law and human rights abuses. Mr. Rapp and Ms. Sisson met many survivors. The spokesperson did not make any direct reference to the offending photo caption in the tweet.


Newsline: Saudi Embassy official drowns in Sri Lanka

An official of the Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Sri Lanka was found drowning in a swimming pool after suffering a heart attack. Police Media Spokesman SSP Ajith Rohana told media the 43-year-old Saudi national, Hussain Muhsin, an accountant in the Saudi Embassy, was swimming in a pool of an apartment complex in Bambalapitiya when he apparently had a heart attack and was drowning. His four-year old son had found him in the pool and he was rushed to a private hospital where he was pronounced dead. No foul play is suspected in his drowning, the police said.


Newsline: Sri Lankan Embassy rescued woman after 16 years in detention in Saudi Arabia

The Sri Lankan Embassy in Saudi Arabia had rescued a woman, who had been in detention at a Saudi home for 16 years, after arriving in the country for employment, ‘Dinamina’ reported. Her employer in Saudi had alleged to have kept her in detention after she left the island nation 16 years ago for employment. Sri Lanka Foreign Employment Bureau’s Deputy General Manager Mangala Randeniya said that a special investigation would be initiated about the incident. He said that the woman has been kept under the custody of the Sri Lankan Embassy until the investigations are over and steps would be taken to send her back to Sri Lanka after recovering the payments due to her from the employer.