Switzerland wants swift return to positive co-operation with Sri Lanka

ECONOMYNEXT – Switzerland’s embassy in Sri Lanka has called for a swift return to ‘positive co-operation’ following an incident over a local employee which had strained relations.

“The Embassy hopes for a swift return to an environment conducive to resuming the positive cooperation between Switzerland and Sri Lanka,” a diplomatic note sent to Sri Lanka’s foreign ministry by the Swiss embassy said.

“In the last few weeks, this relationship was marred by misunderstandings surrounding an incident involving a local staff member of the Embassy, who was subsequently taken into custody by the Sri Lankan authorities.

“In this context, uncorroborated facts made it into the public domain, putting an unnecessary strain on the otherwise cordial relationship between the two countries.”

An embassy staffer had complained that she was abducted by unknown persons and questioned. However government officials said circumstantial evidence dug up by Sri Lanka’s investigators did not back up her claims.

She was then arrested and had now been released on bail. The embassy asked Sri Lanka to ensure that those working for foreign embassy are given due protection.

“Recognizing that local staff is subject to local laws, the Embassy is convinced that both sides will remain attentive to the working conditions and the wellbeing of all staff of diplomatic missions,” the statement said.

“Switzerland recalls that it is the responsibility of any government to protect the diplomatic missions of other states on its territory. ”

The full statement is as follow:

Schweizemche Eidgenossenschaft
Confederation suisse
Confederazlone Svizzera
Confederaziun svizra

Embassy of Switzerland to Sri Lanka and the Maldives

The Embassy of Switzerland in Colombo presents its compliments to the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka and has the honour to state the
following:

Switzerland and Sri Lanka have maintained excellent relations for decades, and have
engaged in substantial cooperation in a variety of fields, to the benefit of both countries and their populations. Both countries value these relations greatly.

In the last few weeks, this relationship was marred by misunderstandings surrounding an incident involving a local staff member of the Embassy, who was subsequently taken into custody by the Sri Lankan authorities.

In this context, uncorroborated facts made it into the public domain, putting an unnecessary strain on the otherwise cordial relationship between the two countries. At no point during this time did Switzerland have the intention of tarnishing the image of the government of Sri Lanka.

The Embassy regrets that these developments have led to the Sri Lankan authorities’ commitment to due process being called into question and reaffirms that Switzerland, like Sri Lanka, is committed to upholding good governance and the rule of law.

The Embassy hopes for a swift return to an environment conducive to resuming the positive cooperation between Switzerland and Sri Lanka.

Recognizing that local staff is subject to local laws, the Embassy is convinced that both sides will remain attentive to the working conditions and the wellbeing of all staff of diplomatic missions. Switzerland recalls that it is the responsibility of any government to protect the diplomatic missions of other states on its territory.

Attaching great importance to its relationship with Sri Lanka, committed to maintaining and to further strengthening these relations in a constructive manner, and convinced that both countries will together continue to build relations which are based on mutual respect, the Embassy of Switzerland in Colombo avails itself of this opportunity to renew to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka the assurances of its highest consideration.