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Oman to open its embassy in Sri Lanka

Muscat: Sultanate of Oman has decided to open its embassy in Sri Lanka to boost bilateral relations between the two countries.

The decision was taken during the meeting of Minister Responsible for Foreign Affairs HE Yousuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah and Sri Lankan External Affairs Gamini Lakshman Peiris in New York recently, said N. L. Abdul Haleem, head of the Chancery, Sri Lankan Embassy in Muscat.

Welcoming the decision, Haleem said this would boost trade and investment between the two countries. "The proposal to set up an embassy in Colombo was sent long time back. We are glad that the Sultanate has finally accepted our proposal,- he said.

Till now, the Sultanate has been continuing its operations from the Omani Embassy in New Delhi.

Sri Lankan Embassy officials said they were willing to extend all cooperation in this regard. "We are not sure whether Omani officials will work from a rented apartment or build their own building. We are willing to extend all help, the head of Chancery said.

Haleem said, "We have been pursuing the agenda for a long time. Whenever we met top Omani officials, we made it a point to raise this issue with them.-

The decision will also make easier the recruitment process of around 100 Sri Lankan nationals who arrive in Oman every month. "Apart from unskilled workers, a lot of skilled workers are also being recruited,- he said.

Appreciating Oman's decision to open a diplomatic mission in Colombo, Lakshman Weerasooriya, Country Manager of SriLankan Airlines-Oman, said it would strengthen the bond between the two countries. "Besides, this is very important because around 16,700 Sri Lankan nationals live in Oman,- he said.

Weerasooriya said the opening of the new embassy would pave the way for closer ties between the two countries. "The relations between Oman and Sri Lanka are poised to reach greater heights with the two sides planning cooperation in several unexplored sectors. The opening of Omani Embassy will facilitate trade and investment. It will make work easier for businessmen and facilitate business transactions,- he noted.

It may be recalled that Sri Lanka had opened its resident mission in Muscat at the level of Charge d'Affaires on December 1987 and later upgraded it to the level of Ambassador in 1990.

Last year 1,300 Omanis visited Sri Lanka on different categories of visas and the majority went for tourism. "On an average, 35 to 40 Omanis visit Sri Lanka on SriLankan Airways.

The demand goes up during Eid holidays. Sri Lanka is introducing Airbus 320 aircraft from October 24 to meet the increased demand,- he added.

Rahul Das

Source: Times of Oman 16.10.2012