ECONOMYNEXT – Norway will close its embassy in Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo from July 2023 as part of a reform of diplomatic missions abroad, a statement said.
“The decision to close the Embassy in Colombo does not have any bearing on the bilateral relationship between Norway and Sri Lanka,” the Norwegian embassy in Colombo said in a statement.
“The Government of Norway remains committed to continue further development of friendly and constructive relations between our two countries.
“To ensure the continuation of the amicable and long-standing bilateral diplomatic relations, going forward, Norway intends to accredit a Head of Mission and assign diplomatic staff based at another Norwegian Embassy in the region to cover Sri Lanka.”
Five Norwegian missions abroad will be closed.
“I am sad to share the news of the planned closure of the Norwegian Embassy in Colombo,” Norwegian Ambassador Trine Jøranli Eskedal said.
“This is a result of a wider process to determine how the Norwegian Foreign Service should be set up to deal with the changing geopolitical environment and safeguard 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.”
Norway opened the Embassy in Colombo in 1996, having had a Norad office in the country since 1976. An important part of the rationale for Norway’s presence in Sri Lanka was linked to Norway’s role in the peace and reconciliation process.
Once the Norwegian Embassy in Colombo is closed, consular services in Sri Lanka will be provided from another Norwegian Embassy in the region.
There is already a visa hub in New Delhi which handles visa applications from Sri Lanka and Maldives, and applicants can visit a VFS office in Colombo for visa appointments. (Colombo/Sept08/2022)