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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 111

Sri Lanka delegation led by Dr. Keheliya Rambukwella to visit Saudi Arabia

Colombo, 11 October, (Asiantribune.com): A Sri Lanka Government delegation led by Dr. Keheliya Rambukwella, Minister of Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare & Government Spokesman for Defense and National Security will be leaving to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on an official visit to explore possibilities of establishing better relationship between Saudi Arabia and Sri Lanka and also about issues connected with the Sri Lankan workers in the country. Dr. Keheliya Rambukwella : “Rizana Nafeek  issue is part of the whole exercise; I don’t want to be specific about anything.  In general, the idea of the tour is to have a better relationship between Saudi Arabian authorities and Sri Lankan authorities in regards to the issue of migration.  It is a broader aspect of it.” Dr. Keheliya Rambukwella : “Rizana Nafeek issue is part of the whole exercise; I don’t want to be specific about anything. In general, the idea of the tour is to have a better relationship between Saudi Arabian authorities and Sri Lankan authorities in regards to the issue of migration. It is a broader aspect of it.”

Asian Tribune learnt that negotiations are underway for the Minister to meet the King of Saudi Arabia during his one week stay. Sources told that Ministry of Foreign Affairs is at present negotiating with Saudi officials regarding the possibility of this meeting.

Minister Dr. Keheliya Rambukwella when speaking to Asian Tribune said” I may go somewhere around the 24th or 25th October and hope to be in Saudi Arabia till 3rd November. My appointments with Saudi Arabian Government leaders are to start by 27th of October. I intend to go two days earlier to talk to our people there. It is not fixed yet, all depend on the Parliamentary sessions here. “

Deputy Foreign Minister Hussein Bhaila, with two Foreign Ministry officials is expected to accompany the Minister.

Furthermore, Kingsley Ranawake Chairman of the Sri Lanka Foreign Employment Bureau, Ruhunuge, Deputy General Manager of the Foreign Affairs division of the Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare Ministry and others will leave for the country in advance, before the minister’s visit.

Sri Lanka’s Minister is expected to meet with Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz Governor of Riyadh, Dr Ghazi bin Abdulrahman Al Gosaibi, Saudi Minister of Labor, Saudi National Recruitment Committee Chairman Saad Al-Badaah and officials from Dawadmi, where Rizana Nafeek , Sri Lankan House maid who has been sentenced to be beheaded on June 16, by a three-member bench in a Dawadmi court, for murdering a four-month-old infant when the woman, who was hired as a house maid, was asked to care for the baby.

When Asian Tribune asked whether the Minister would take up the issue of clemency to Rizana Nafeek , Sri Lankan House maid, Minister Dr. Keheliya Rambukwella said, “That is part of the whole exercise; I don’t want to be specific about anything. In general, the idea of the tour is to have a better relationship between Saudi Arabian authorities and Sri Lankan authorities in regards to the issue of migration. It is a broader aspect of it.”

The Sri Lankan minister is also expected to take up issues relating to basic salaries for unskilled workers, employment agreements, common labor problems and the supply of skilled manpower to the Kingdom from Sri Lanka. The minister will also visit Jeddah and meet the members of Sri Lanka community.

Minister said that there are nearly half a million of Sri Lankan migrant workers in Saudi Arabia and 62% of the total workers are women.

- Asian Tribune -

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