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Sri Lanka opens new consulate in Israel whist Gaza assault continues

The Sri Lanka government opened a new consulate and engaged in expanded trade talks with Israel this week, despite purportedly calling for a ceasefire to its offensive in Gaza in which tens of thousands have been killed.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a communique said it established a new honorary Consulate for Haifa and the Northern District of Israel which is a main trade and industrial hub. The ministry said there are around 2,000 Sri Lankan migrant workers in Haifa and the northern area of Israel at present.


A week after the opening of the new honorary consulate, Sri Lanka and Israel were in talks for an exchange of trade delegation to explore business opportunities in the gem, jewellery, cinnamon and agriculture sectors. 

Sri Lanka’s ambassador to Israel Nimal Bandara engaged in a discussion with the Chairman of the Board of Israel Export & International Cooperation Institute Avi Balashnikov where they discussed the exchange of a trade delegation between the two countries. 

During the meeting, Bandara suggested that Sri Lanka is willing to receive a high-level trade delegation in the same sectors from Israel to identify Sri Lankan products and services which are suitable to the Israel market.

The deepening of trade and diplomatic ties comes even as Sri Lanka claimed that it has demanded an immediate ceasefire and a supply of humanitarian aid to Gaza. 

Wickremesinghe himself called a meeting with diplomats representing the Arab foreign missions in Colombo last month where he emphasised the need for a two-state solution, a meeting office claimed was a “diplomatic milestone”.

Last year, a month Israel’s assault, Sri Lanka signed a deal with Israel that will see Colombo send 10,000 farm workers to the country after as many as 20,000 Palestinian agricultural workers were banned by the Israeli government.

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