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    No immediate need to evacuate Lankans from Iraq Featured

    July 06, 2014

    Around 1,000 Sri Lankans in Iraq are not in immediate danger and the Embassy in Bagdad was still functioning to receive any distress calls, a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry confirmed.

    “Sri Lanka’s Ambassador Sumith Nakandala, an Attache H.S. Premasiri and the Ambassador’s Personal Assistant M. Maharoon are still at the Embassy in Bagdad’s high security zone, Director Public Communications Division of the External Affairs Ministry A.M.J. Sadiq said.

    He said most Sri Lankans are in the Northern Kurdistan region which is free from the current violence and still under government control. In Sulaymanyah in Kurdistan there were 107 Sri Lankans working in Faruk Medical City, 47 at the Grand Millenium Hotel and another 44 domestic aides in different households, he said.

    Ambassador Nakandala visited this region from June 11 - 18 including the Capital Erbil where he met the region’s Foreign Minister, the Labour Minister and representatives of the Chamber of Commerce.

    The largest concentration of Sri Lankans in Iraq are in Erbil with 400 working at the international airport and 200 Lankans in various construction projects. In Dukan, in the same region, there are 19 Sri Lankans working in a resort hotel.

    “In all of Iraq, the northern Kurdistan, area has almost a separate government. It is free of the current violence,” Sadiq said.

    He said there were a few Sri Lankans in conflict-gripped Bagdad and Basra regions.

    These Sri Lankans are working for non Iraqi contractors and companies within the secure green zone and if there is an emergency situation there are plans to evacuate them by their employers. “They are not in harm’s way right now”

    Sri Lanka’s External Affairs Ministry issued a travel advisory a week ago for Sri Lankans to exercise extreme caution if they plan to visit Iraq. It advised travellers to get in touch with the Sri Lankan Embassy in Bagdad prior to the planned visit.

    The emergency numbers of the Sri Lankan mission are, Ambassador Nakandala - 009647704847685, Attache Premasiri – 009647704847458 and the PA Maharoon – 009647703902467. (SDF/HC)


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