The Government of Norway has decided to make structural changes in its network of diplomatic missions abroad and hence has decided to permanently close the Norwegian Embassy in Colombo by end of July 2023.
“I am sad to share news of the closure of our Embassy in Colombo in July 2023 due to structural changes in the Norwegian Foreign Service,” Norwegian Ambassador to Sri Lanka and the Maldives Trine Jøranli Eskedal said.
Bilateral ties between Norway and Sri Lanka are strong and warm and will continue, she said in a tweet.
In 2023, the Norway’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs plans to increase the number of staff at several missions abroad, especially missions in Europe.
Staffing at certain missions will be increased to provide greater support to the Norwegian business sector. At the same time, five missions will be closed, the Government of Norway said.
The following missions will be closed in 2023: the embassies in Bratislava (Slovakia), Colombo (Sri Lanka) and Pristina (Kosovo), the embassy office in Antananarivo (Madagascar) and the Consulate General in Houston (USA).
‘It is never easy to decide to close Norwegian missions. Closures such as these affect the lives of posted Norwegian diplomats and have even greater consequences for the locally employed staff. But we have a responsibility to use our resources in a way that enables us to safeguard Norwegian interests as effectively as possible,’ said Norway’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Anniken Huitfeldt.
Norway’s diplomatic relations with Kosovo, Madagascar, Slovakia and Sri Lanka will be dealt with through alternative arrangements, for example responsibility for this will be given to a Norwegian embassy close by, or an ambassador based in Norway will be appointed for the country concerned.
Norway currently has 101 diplomatic and consular missions. The planned changes will mean that Norway has fewer missions abroad but retains approximately the same number of posted diplomatic staff. The Norwegian Foreign Service comprises more than 2600 employees. About 800 of these work in Oslo, over 600 are posted diplomatic staff, and some 1200 are locally employed staff recruited directly by the missions abroad.