Foreign Ministry facilitates outward movement of foreign nationals | Sunday Observer

Foreign Ministry facilitates outward movement of foreign nationals

Arrangements are being made for the smooth return of foreign nationals presently in Sri Lanka on tourist and other visa categories, making use of regular flight movements operating through Sri Lanka and also charter flights that may be deployed, as the airport remains open for outbound passenger movements.

Modalities to facilitate these movements were discussed on Friday (20) at a meeting chaired by Secretary Foreign Relations, Ravinatha Aryasinha.

The meeting was attended by the Ambassadors representing the Western Hemisphere as well as representatives from the Ministry of Defence, Police Department, Department of Immigration, Airport and Aviation Services, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau, Civil Aviation and SriLankan Airlines.

In view of the curfew the Acting Inspector General of Police has assured that the air ticket could be used as a curfew pass for the passengers, the vehicle and the driver that would be transporting the passengers. Chairman SLTPB said reputed taxi networks and hoteliers have been requested to assist in these movements.

During the meeting, the diplomats present drew attention to the continuing difficulties faced by their nationals present in the country on account of negative reactions experienced by tourists on some occasions from both owners of tourist lodgings and sections of the public. The Sri Lankan agencies emphasised that measures would be taken to ensure Sri Lanka’s traditional hospitality to foreign nationals in these difficult circumstances.

Special telephone lines have been set up to ensure that such instances will be reported promptly and dealt with, while contact facilities have also been provided to those foreign nationals being moved to quarantine centres.

Following the appeal made by the country earlier this week, the representatives of several governments informed that they have taken steps to extend visas of Sri Lankans abroad whose visas have or would expire shortly. The Foreign Ministry was assured that its request was receiving the highest consideration in other capitals. Earlier, Sri Lanka extended visas for all visiting foreign nationals by one month.