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Lankan ambassador bids farewell to KSA

The outgoing Sri Lankan ambassador says he developed good relations with Saudi officials during his stay in the Kingdom particularly closer trade and tourism ties.
Vadivel Krishnamoorthy will be leaving for Nairobi on Tuesday to take up his appointment as his country’s ambassador in Kenya. Hussein Mohamed, the former mayor of Colombo, is the new ambassador to the Kingdom.
“It has been a matter of great satisfaction that I was able to maintain good relations with officials from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Labor and Interior ... and religious leaders,” he said.
He said that one of the challenges he faced was working with Saudi officials during the Kingdom’s labor correction campaign.
“Our embassy was able to correct the status of 22,000 undocumented Sri Lankans under the generous amnesty granted by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah.”
He said there are about 550,000 Sri Lankan workers deployed in the Kingdom, the largest number in the Middle East. There are 1.5 million islanders working in the Middle East.
He said his achievements include promoting Sri Lanka as a tourist destination and ensuring that the Kingdom remained a destination for those citizens seeking work abroad.
“In addition, my embassy was able to transform itself to ensure quick delivery of services. I am happy to note that Sri Lanka and Saudi Arabia have signed an agreement to streamline recruitment and protect the rights of both employers and domestic workers.”
He said the agreement ensures a minimum wage, set working hours, paid holidays and a dispute resolution mechanism.
He said the Sri Lankan community in the Kingdom, particularly those with good jobs, worked closely with the embassy to help fellow workers in need.
The mission is working on a road show to improve bilateral relations in investments, tourism and trade in Riyadh, Dammam and Jeddah in October. Plans are underway to initiate the Saudi-Sri Lanka Business Council, he said.
Prior to his posting here, Krishnamoorthy, a senior career diplomat, was attached to the External Affairs Ministry as its director general for Southeast Asia and the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).
His previous overseas posting was as the deputy high commissioner for Sri Lanka in Chennai, India. He succeeded Ambassador P.M. Amza who completed his three-year posting here and moved to London as the deputy high commissioner and is now the island’s ambassador in Brussels.
Krishnamoorthy had earlier served as high commissioner at Dhaka in Bangladesh before he was posted to Chennai.
He hails from Nuwara-Eliya, known as Little London, and had his schooling at the prestigious Hatton Highlands College. He holds a degree from the University of Peradeniya and a post-graduate diploma in Educational Management and Master of Arts in Foreign Affairs and Trade from Monash University, Australia.
Krishnamoorthy has over 33 years in public service, which includes more than 20 years in the foreign service. He was in Bangladesh from 2006 to 2009. Before that he was the director-general of the United Nations and Multilateral Affairs Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for two years from 2004 to 2006. He also attended the 60th United Nations General Assembly session in New York and the Board of Governors Meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna.
Krishnamoorthy had earlier served in the Netherlands from 2001 to 2004 and China from 1992 to 1997. While serving as the minister counselor at the Embassy in the Netherlands, he functioned as the deputy permanent representative to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
He had also worked as the director on the East Asia desk, deputy chief of protocol from 1999 to 2001, assistant director on the West desk in 1992 and director of the Sri Lankan Institute of International Relations from 2004 to 2006.
He is married, has two daughters, and speaks Tamil, Sinhala, English and Chinese.
The Sri Lankan community hosted a farewell for him, followed by a party arranged by the embassy’s officials. Krishnamoorthy also hosted an iftar on Monday for all Sri Lankans in the Kingdom.

Blurb:
His achievements include promoting Sri Lanka as a tourist destination and ensuring that the Kingdom remained a destination for those citizens seeking work abroad.

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