Sri Lanka, Iran in talks for banking deal, direct flights and refinery
May 14, 2018 (BE2C2) — Iran will provide Sri Lanka with technical and engineering services for development and construction of oil refineries, dams and power plants, and power supply to villages.
The announcement comes as the Sri Lankan president with his delegation are in Tehran for a two-day official visit to improve trade relations and secure investment from the Islamic republic including strengthening cooperation in the energy sector.
Officials from the two countries signed five agreements (cooperation documents) in a ceremony on Sunday morning. Also discussed at the meetings were the possibility of direct flights between Tehran and Colombo to facilitate tourism between the two countries.
The Government of Sri Lanka also held discussions with Iran on Sunday on sale of Iranian crude oil, the Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen said.
“President .@MaithripalaS talks with #Iran today focused on sale of #Iranian crude oil, #petrochemicals, building blocks as well as technical & engineering services & establishment of a direct flight between #Tehran & #Colombo to boost #tourism. Pleased to take part,” Sri Lanka Minister Bathiudeen tweeted.
President Sirisena invited Iranian businesses to make investments in his country and called for closer cooperation with Iran in various economic and industrial projects.
In a meeting of high-ranking officials from Iran and Sri Lanka, held in Tehran on Sunday, President Sirisena voiced his country’s willingness to work with Iranian investors and economic activists.
Minister Bathiudeen was also present at the meeting when the two Presidents met.
“Sri Lanka welcomes and supports the presence of Iranian investors (in Sri Lanka),” said Lanka’s president, adding that Tehran and Colombo can boost ties in various fields including energy, tourism, transportation, banking, power transfer and construction of oil refineries.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, for his part, stressed the need for closer banking interaction to pave the way for broader trade and economic relations.
Sri Lanka, an oil importer, turned to Saudi Arabia and Oman for crude during the height of international sanctions against Iran. Before the sanctions regime, Iran had been a key buyer of Sri Lankan tea, the island’s main export.
President .@MaithripalaS talks with #Iran today focused on sale of #Iranian crude oil, #petrochemicals, building blocks as well as technical & engineering services & establishment of a direct flight between #Tehran & #Colombo to boost #tourism. Pleased to take part. #SriLanka pic.twitter.com/6mBVSi3GEA
— Rishad Bathiudeen (@rbathiudeen) May 13, 2018