Switzerland has said it would support Sri Lanka in all measures to investigate and resolve the Swiss Embassy employee matter by due process of law but that the concerned employee still cannot be questioned on health grounds.
Swiss State Secretary Pascale Baeriswyl, who summoned Ambassador Karunasena Hettiarachchi, has emphasised that the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) would support all measures to investigate and resolve this matter by due process of law.
“Ms.Baeriswyl confirmed that the employee concerned still cannot be questioned on health grounds, stressing that the individual's health must take priority. She also indicated that while Switzerland had no interest in delaying investigations by the Sri Lankan authorities, the FDFA takes its responsibilities to its staff very seriously,” a statement issued by the FDFA said.
It said State Secretary Baeriswyl summoned Ambassador Hettiarachchi who is based in Berlin, to Bern in Switzerland following several demarches from the FDFA over the incident concerning an employee of the Swiss Embassy in Colombo.
Ms. Baeriswyl confirmed at the meeting that Switzerland supports measures to investigate and settle this matter through due process of law. However, the employee concerned still cannot be questioned on health grounds.
In conveying this message, Ms. Baeriswyl responded to a statement issued by the Sri Lankan Foreign Affairs Ministry on December 1, which questioned the embassy's presentation of the facts.
She also asked Ambassador Hettiarachchi to explain the purported evidence against the events described by the embassy, which the Sri Lankan Ministry of Foreign Affairs had alluded to in its press release.
She affirmed to Ambassador Hettiarachchi that Switzerland remained ready to take the necessary steps to restore confidence between Switzerland and Sri Lanka.
“At the end of November, a local employee at the Swiss Embassy in Colombo was detained after being picked up from the street and threatened by unidentified men to force her to disclose embassy-related information. The FDFA responded to this incident through a series of demarches. The embassy reported the incident to the Sri Lankan authorities, calling for a swift and thorough investigation to be conducted,” the statement said.