Switzerland yesterday said it hopes for a swift return to an environment conducive to resuming the positive co-operation between the two countries after relations were marred over an alleged incident involving a local embassy employee.
In a Diplomatic Note communicated to the Ministry of Foreign Relations (MFR) by the Embassy of Switzerland in Sri Lanka on Monday 30 December, the Embassy said it regrets that these developments have led to the Sri Lankan authorities’ commitment to due process being called into question and reaffirmed that Switzerland, like Sri Lanka, is committed to upholding good governance and the rule of law.
“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,” the Note said.
It added that 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,” it added.
“Recognising 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,” the Note added.
The Diplomatic Note added, “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.”
This Note was simultaneously released by the Embassy of Switzerland in Sri Lanka and the Ministry of Foreign Relations in Colombo.