Sri Lanka set to open embassy in Bahrain
Manama, December 17, 2012
Sri Lanka will open its first fully operational embassy in Bahrain next month, a top official said, adding that authorities were now in the final stages of approving a location for the mission.
The embassy will work towards boosting ties between the two countries and support the 20,000-plus Sri Lankan community here, said Sri Lankan honorary consul-general P B Higgoda, speaking to our sister publication, the Gulf daily News (GDN).
"It's been a long wait for the Sri Lankan community in Bahrain to have an embassy to help them out," he said.
"For years now we continue to provide mobile consular services to our nationals in Bahrain with the help of diplomats from the Sri Lankan Embassy in Kuwait."
Campaigners have been urging Sri Lanka to open an embassy in Bahrain for years.
He said the new mission would include a community welfare officer, labour attachŽ and other staff to provide consular and other services.
Sri Lankan Ambassador to Kuwait, Chandra-sekara Atapattu Mudiyaselage Wije-ratne currently holds the title of non-resident ambassador to Bahrain and will continue in that roll until any new appointment is made - having only presented his credentials last July.
"We have zeroed in on some areas where the embassy headquarters will be soon set up," said Higgoda.
Bahrain's Foreign Minister Shaikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa met his Sri Lankan counterpart Professor G L Peiris in New York in September and stressed the importance of the planned embassy in promoting diplomatic relations and co-ordination in all fields, while serving the Sri Lankan expatriate community here.
The GDN reported in May that Sri Lankan nationals planned to launch a petition demanding a fully operational embassy in Bahrain, claiming they were facing unnecessary obstacles in completing basic consular matters. – TradeArabia News Service