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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2783

Sweden decides to close its Embassy in Sri Lanka

[caption id="attachment_2860" align="alignright" width="456" caption="Swedish Foreign MinisterCarl Bildt"]Swedish Foreign MinisterCarl Bildt[/caption]

Stockholm, 24 July, (

The Foreign Ministry has decided to close Swedish Embassy in Colombo. This decision was made by the Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, after Government’s review of development cooperation in 2007, to end Sweden's bilateral development assistance to Sri Lanka.

The Foreign Ministry also decided to close its four Consulate General’s offices in Kaliningrad, Canton, Los Angeles and New York.

Sweden’s Foreign Ministry in a statement said that these measures are a necessary part of balancing the Ministry for Foreign Affairs budget and adapting it to its allocated appropriations

Foreign Ministry statement further added,” the closure of the Embassy in Colombo is to be completed by 31 March 2010 at the latest."

Statement further adds, “ Existing development cooperation agreements will be seen through to their conclusion. The aim is to be able to open an honorary consulate that, in cooperation with the Embassy in New Delhi, can provide service to Swedish citizens and companies. Visa services will be managed within the framework of Schengen cooperation.”

Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt when commenting about the closing down of the Embassy and other diplomatic offices said:

"When I took office as Minister for Foreign Affairs in autumn 2006, the Ministry had a budget deficit of over SEK 50 million. The deficit had been built up over several years and the previous government maintained activities that had no financing. Of course it is an untenable position to be pushing this deficit in front of us. We must ensure that we have an effective and professional Foreign Service within the existing budgetary framework. With these changes, we will balance the budget and at the same time renew working methods.”

It is learnt that the Swedish Foreign Service changes along with the rest of the world and Sweden has opened 30 embassies and consulates and closed 43 others since 1990.

Alongside the changes in the Foreign Service, the number of staff is to be reduced by 100 over the period 2008-2010 and the Foreign Service's property costs are to be reduced by SEK 50 million.

- Asian Tribune -

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