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Sri Lankan ambassador aims for enhanced partnership in Saudi vision 2030

Sri Lankan ambassador aims for enhanced partnership in Saudi vision 2030

Sri Lankan ambassador aims for enhanced partnership in Saudi vision 2030

Sri Lankan ambassador aims for enhanced partnership in Saudi vision 2030

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  • Sri Lanka’s new ambassador aims to collaborate with Saudi Arabia in the tourism, labor, and renewable energy sectors.
  • Ajwad praised Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 and highlighted Sri Lanka’s potential to contribute to the transformation.
  • Sri Lanka aims to tap into Saudi megaprojects, including the flagship NEOM smart city.
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As he assumed his post in Riyadh on Monday, Sri Lanka‘s new ambassador told Arab News that the island nation hopes to work closer with Saudi Arabia in tourism, labor, and renewable energy sectors to support the Kingdom’s Vision 2030. Omar Lebbe Ameer Ajwad, a career diplomat, concurrently served as ambassador in Oman and Yemen from 2019 to 2022. He had previously served as Sri Lanka’s acting high commissioner in Singapore and deputy high commissioner in Chennai, India.

With around 26 years of experience, one of his earliest postings was as the deputy chief of mission at the Sri Lankan Embassy in Riyadh.

As he praised Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, Ajwad highlighted that Sri Lanka can contribute to the transformation and diversification project.

“Sri Lanka wishes to partner with Saudi Arabia in this transformative journey. Therefore, my primary focus would be on promoting economic diplomacy,” he told Arab News over the weekend.

“Sri Lanka and Saudi Arabia are well poised for greater connectivity and deeper economic cooperation and synergies.”

As Saudi Arabia and Sri Lanka celebrate their 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations this year, Ajwad is determined to chart pathways for future cooperation “to achieve another milestone of productive relations.”

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Ajwad added that key sectors in Saudi Arabia’s diversification efforts, such as tourism, transportation and logistics, and renewable energy, “correspond to Sri Lanka’s potentials and priorities.”

As such, Sri Lanka aims to tap into the possibilities posed by Saudi megaprojects, including the flagship multibillion-dollar NEOM smart city.

“Sri Lanka’s skilled and semi-skilled workforce could support various aspects of construction, engineering, and service industries required for projects such as NEOM,” Ajwad said.

Sri Lankan workers can offer expertise and technology in NEOM’s renewable energy sector, agricultural projects, and the city’s information technology development.

Saudi Arabia serves as a major labor-receiving country for Sri Lanka, with tens of thousands of workers from the island nation residing in the Kingdom — rendering it one of the main sources of foreign remittances for Colombo.

“NEOM also aims to become a major tourist destination. Sri Lanka’s well-established tourism sector expertise, especially in sustainable and eco-tourism, can provide insights and professional services to develop NEOM’s hospitality sector,” the ambassador said.

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Ajwad will focus on increasing engagements between the Saudi and Sri Lankan public and private sectors through political consultations between their foreign ministries and establishing a bilateral business council.

“I strongly believe that the setting up of strong platforms for the bilateral engagements will catalyze the much-needed information flow, networking, and follow-up to foster greater cooperation between the two countries.”

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