As part of the proposed commercial based diplomatic policy and mechanism being envisioned and pursued by the Government, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be increasing the number of Sri Lankan foreign diplomatic missions including embassies, high commissions and consulates to 70.
Ministry sources informed that the current number of such was 64.
Recently, Minister of Foreign Affairs Ravi Karunanayake had stated that a few Sri Lankan overseas diplomatic missions including several in Europe would be shut down. The reason provided for the proposed closure was that they had as of late been found to be of no use. A final decision in this regard is to be taken following the assessment of the performance of the diplomatic missions, their heads and also considering the rationale behind continuing to maintain these missions, the latter in terms of the cost which is paid for through taxes collected from the public. Three heads of missions have already been recalled.
The changes being proposed are with the view of linking with the world by way of establishing commerce based diplomatic ties with other countries.
The Government is scheduled to brief and make aware all the heads of Sri Lankan foreign missions regarding the new policy at a meeting with President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, to be held in Sri Lanka on September 4.
Sources further said that in the backdrop of Sri Lanka regaining the Generalized System of Preferences Plus concession, the missions would be organized in a manner suitable to the country to engage in commercial diplomacy whilst maintaining the country’s unitary status.
President Sirisena and PM Wickremesinghe are formulating the background to this programme in order to achieve this target, the sources explained.