The Ministry of Foreign Relations said Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena held a telephone discussion with his Kuwaiti Counterpart Dr. Ahmad Nasser Al Mohammed Al Sabah in this regard today.
Issuing a press release, the Ministry said the Ministers agreed that the first batch consisting 460 returnees will arrive on two Kuwaiti Airways flights tomorrow (19).
The Foreign Minister also said in consultation with the immigration authorities, the Sri Lanka Embassy in Kuwait will verify and issue emergency travel documents to those Sri Lankan nationals who will qualify for the amnesty, when the Kuwaiti government reopens for them to register.
The general amnesty enables those out of status to leave with no consequences, and also to return to Kuwait for work in a legal manner.
Minister Gunawardena assured his Kuwaiti counterpart that the government of Sri Lanka is committed to facilitate future repatriation of amnesty beneficiaries in Kuwait, consistent with previous practice.
However Sri Lanka would require to coordinate it carefully in a manner that is consistent with the availability of space in quarantine centers, which are limited, the Ministry of Foreign Relations said.
The press release went on to say that the two ministers also discussed measures taken by the respective governments to face the challenges posed by COVID-19.
The Minister thanked the Kuwaiti government for the support including healthcare facilities provided for over 100,000 Sri Lankans presently working in Kuwait.
Minister Gunwardena said the Sri Lanka Embassy in Kuwait in collaboration with the Sri Lankan community and other welfare groups based in Kuwait, were continuously providing dry rations to the neediest overseas Sri Lankans.
The Foreign Minister also urged his counterpart to increase the import of Sri Lankan tea and other produce to Kuwait, which had been affected due to the limitations in air traffic between the two countries.
It was noted that the planes carrying the beneficiaries of the amnesty from Kuwait, will be taking back Sri Lankan exports to Kuwait.
The Ministry of Foreign Relations added that the Ministers agreed to have a telephonic exchange on a fortnightly basis, to review the progress on these matters. (Colombo Gazette)