KSA not informed of Sri Lanka’s recall of envoy

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has not been informed about the recall of Sri Lankan Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Ahmed A. Jawad by Colombo, according to Alauddin A. Alaskary, deputy foreign minister for protocol affairs. Media reports have said that the recall is a protest against the execution of a Sri Lankan maid in the Kingdom.

Alaskary said “the Sri Lankan government or any government follows the protocol to intimate the host government about the recall order.”

Commenting on the media reports about Sri Lanka recalling its ambassador, Alaskary said: “I am not aware of any such development … maybe the Sri Lankan side will formally convey the decision to us on Saturday, if the media reports are true.”

Several reports, including some filed by wire services, said Colombo has recalled its ambassador to Saudi Arabia to protest the beheading of Rizana Nafeek, a maid, who was convicted of killing a baby under her care.

The wire reports quoted Sri Lanka’s Foreign Secretary Karunatillake Amunugama as saying in Colombo yesterday that the Sri Lankan government has asked Ambassador Jawad to return home immediately to register Colombo’s protest over Wednesday’s execution of Nafeek at a prison near Riyadh. “We are recalling him to show our displeasure,” Amunugama told reporters in the Sri Lankan capital.

“Sri Lanka had made repeated appeals to spare her life … Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse deplored the execution, which was carried out despite his latest clemency appeal over the weekend.”

Arab News called Ambassador Jawad several times on his cell phone, but was unable to reach him. According to sources, Jawad was in the Saudi capital, but he neither returned calls nor replied to a text message sent by this reporter.

But, Deputy Foreign Minister Alaskary said that various crimes were being committed by workers. Anyone who commits a crime will be punished according to the law of the land. Saudi Arabia is home to the largest number of unskilled and semi-skilled workers from Sri Lanka.

According to wire reports, Nafeek’s family was in shock after hearing about the beheading and was pleading with the authorities to bring back her body, said family friend, Abdul Jihad, in the eastern village of Muttur, in Sri

Lanka. “The family is completely heartbroken,” Jihad, 46, said by telephone. “They want Rizana’s body brought back, although we have been told that they have already buried her.”

Jihad, a science teacher at a local school who had taught Rizana, said the Sri Lankan authorities had earlier raised the family’s hopes with their repeated appeals for clemency. “The villagers will pray for her today after Friday prayers,” Jihad said, adding that Rizana had traveled to Saudi Arabia in 2005 to work as a housemaid when she was barely 17. She had hoped to earn enough to build a house for her family, who are living in a makeshift home, said Jihad.

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