NEW DELHI(PTI): India has acceded to Sri Lanka's request to evacuate stranded Sri Lankans along with Indian nationals from strife-torn Yemen, the Foreign Ministry said here.
There are reportedly around 75-100 Sri Lankan expatriates, including students, in Yemen.
Due to the volatile situation in the country, Sri Lanka is making arrangements to evacuate all Sri Lankans in Yemen, who are principally residing in the capital Sanaa and other main cities, such as Hodeida, Aden and Mukalla.
"The Government of Sri Lanka has sought the assistance of the UN Office in Sanaa and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in Colombo in the evacuation efforts," the Foreign Ministry said in statement yesterday.
"The Indian Government has promptly acceded to the request of the Government of Sri Lanka to bring the stranded Sri Lankans along with Indian nationals in Yemen, who are to be evacuated by air and sea on special flights and ships respectively," it said.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in coordination with the Sri Lanka Embassy in Muscat, which is concurrently accredited to Yemen, is exploring all possible avenues to ensure the safe return of the Sri Lankans, the statement said.
The Sri Lanka mission in Muscat is in contact with some Sri Lankans in Yemen, who are directly monitoring the welfare of the Sri Lankans in their present locations.
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Ajith P Perera, in his capacity as Acting Minister, had last week instructed the Sri Lanka High Commission in New Delhi and the Sri Lanka Embassy in
Muscat to liaise with India's Ministry of External Affairs of India and the Indian Embassies in Muscat and Sanaa to coordinate the evacuation process, the statement said.
Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera, too has issued directives to the High Commissioner of Sri Lanka in Kenya and the Charge d'Affaires in Muscat to go to Djibouti to support the operation and coordinate with the Indian officials.
"The Ministry continues to closely monitor the situation in Yemen and is making every effort to ensure the safe evacuation of Sri Lankans in Yemen back home," the statement said.
Saudi-led coalition warplanes have been pounding Yemen's Shiite rebels, destroying missiles and weapons depots and for the first time using warships to bomb the rebel-held airport and eastern outskirts of the port city of Aden.