Sri Lanka stops on-arrival visa for Bangladeshis; Bangladesh retaliates – report

Sri Lanka and Bangladesh flags

Sri Lanka has stopped issuing on-arrival visas for Bangladeshi nationals without informing Dhaka, officials at the Bangladesh foreign ministry said.

Gulf Times reports that, Bangladesh also retaliated by stopping on-arrival visa facilities for Sri Lankan nationals, they said.

In addition, the foreign ministry summoned Sri Lankan high commissioner to Dhaka Yasoja Gunasekera to the ministry.

During a meeting that lasted more than an hour, additional foreign secretary (bilateral and consular) Kamrul Ahsan voiced Dhaka’s dissatisfaction over the development and wanted to know the reason or reasons, said the sources.

In response, the Sri Lankan high commissioner said she herself did not know and she will come back to the foreign ministry after consulting her foreign ministry in Colombo.

“I am still trying to figure out the answer myself. I was not given any indication,” she told newsmen.

Asked if the on-arrival visa will resume soon, the high commissioner said, “Bangladeshis are always welcome in Sri Lanka. We value Bangladeshi visitors coming to Sri Lanka because more people-to-people contacts help build this valuable relationship.”

According to the Bangladesh foreign ministry officials, the Sri Lankan action a few days back came as a surprise to them. “Sri Lanka is a friend of Bangladesh with no thorny issue,” a senior official said.

The officials could not say if this measure is Bangladesh-specific or Sri Lanka has stopped this facility for other countries too.

“Whatever the reason is, no country can take such a measure without informing the country concerned,” said the official.

The official said the foreign ministry came to know about the development from Mihin Lanka, a Sri Lankan airline that operates direct flight between Dhaka and Colombo.

(Courtesy: Gulf Times)