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Sri Lanka temporarily closes its embassies in Norway, Iraq & Consulate General in Australia amid crisis

By Ruchi Upadhyay 
Updated Date

Colombo: Amid a severe economic crisis, the Sri Lankan government, on Tuesday temporarily closed its embassies in Oslo – Norway, Baghdad – Iraq, and its Consulate General in Sydney – Australia.

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The development came hours after the ruling coalition in the island nation lost its parliamentary majority as at least 41 lawmakers walked out of the ruling alliance headed by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

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Issuing a statement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it had initiated action to temporarily close down the Sri Lanka Embassy in Oslo, the Kingdom of Norway; the Sri Lanka Embassy in Baghdad, the Republic of Iraq; and the Sri Lanka Consulate General in Sydney, the Commonwealth of Australia; with effect from 30th April, following a recent Cabinet decision.

The Foreign Ministry said the move was taken by the Sri Lanka government following careful deliberation and pointed out that it is part of a general restructuring of Sri Lanka’s diplomatic representation overseas, undertaken by the Foreign Ministry in the context of the current economic situation and foreign currency constraints.

On Monday, Sri Lanka’s opposition called President Rajapaksa’s invitation to join a unity government “nonsensical” and instead demanded his resignation over the country’s worsening shortages of food, fuel and medicines.

Sri Lanka’s ruling coalition headed by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa faced more trouble after the newly appointed Finance Minister Ali Sabry resigned even as dissident lawmakers, led by former president Maithripala Sirisena, were planning to quit the government against the backdrop of nationwide protests over the country’s worst economic crisis.

President Rajapaksa had appointed Sabry after sacking his brother Basil Rajapaksa, who was at the centre of anger within the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) coalition.

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When the Parliament convened on Tuesday, several government allies expressed their decision to stay neutral. It was the first session since a state of emergency was declared by President Rajapaksa last week.

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