COLOMBO: Following a parliamentary assessment of diplomatic ties, Sri Lanka’s foreign minister announced on Wednesday that the government is realigning its diplomacy to place a higher priority on the Middle East.
countries to trade with the larger area by “taking advantage of Sri Lanka’s location and foreign policy.”
Everyone has so much to gain in the globe, and since Sri Lanka is the entry point to South Asia, it would be excellent for everyone to invest there, he said.
The Middle Eastern region is crucial to Sri Lanka and a top priority in its foreign policy, according to the country.
Aiming for arrangements that facilitate sustainable commercial links in the long run, increased interactions with the Middle East will initially concentrate on fostering people-to-people relationships.
“In the short term, we want more people-to-people connectivity, more direct flights, more employment opportunities for skilled and semi-skilled Sri Lankan workers in the Middle East, and more tourists from the Middle East,” Sabry added.
“In the short to medium term, we are looking at a comprehensive partnership, a number of free trade agreements, an investment protection agreement, a prisoner transfer agreement, and an avoidance of double taxation agreement — so a framework to do long-term business.”
The important nations for Sri Lanka include those that are part of the Gulf Cooperation Council, which is already a popular place for Sri Lankan expats to live because more than 1 million of them work there.
For the nation, which has been engulfed in its worst financial crisis since last year, expatriate employees are a major source of foreign currency. Remittances reached $3.8 billion in 2022, while this year they are projected to reach $2.8 billion, up from $3.8 billion in 2022.
“In the Middle East, specifically Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain, and Kuwait, 80 to 85 percent of temporary migrant workers who are now employed are employed. Additionally, a number of people continue to work in Jordan and Lebanon, according to Sabry.
These nations are crucial to keeping Sri Lanka’s economy alive. The Sri Lankan economy is maintained by the regular money transfers made to Sri Lanka by these migrant workers.