Over 125,000 Sri Lankans working in Qatar will not be affected by severance of ties between five Arab nations and Qatar, Sri Lanka’s foreign employment minister said, underlining that the country has an independent stance over the situation. Saudi Arabia along with the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, Yemen and the Maldives severed relations with Qatar yesterday, suspending all flights and giving Qataris 14 days to leave in the biggest diplomatic crisis to hit the region in years.
Sri Lanka’s Foreign Employment Minister Thalatha Athukorale said she has consulted Sri Lankan diplomats and it was found that 125,000 Sri Lankans working in Qatar will not be impacted by the move. She also said Sri Lanka has its own independent stance on Qatar and its diplomatic relations with Qatar remains the same. Sri Lankan Airlines, the country’s national carrier, will continue to operate flights to Doha as scheduled. The airlines will closely monitor the situation in the Middle East, she said.
Meanwhile, the Central Bank of Sri Lanka has denied a rumour that it has advised banks operating at the Colombo International Airport to stop Qatar Riyal currency exchanging process at the airport.