Sri Lanka keen to resume oil import from Iran

Sri Lanka is interested to resume import of crude oil and oil products from Iran, Susil Premajayantha, the country’s minister of science, technology and research, said.

Premajayantha made the remarks during a meeting with Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif in Tehran, the IRNA news agency reported today.

He expressed hope that the two countries’ energy co-op would be boosted after settling the “remaining financial obstacles.”

Zarif, for his turn, said that developing cooperation with Asian countries including Sri Lanka in various fields is a priority for the Islamic Republic, the Trend news service reported.

Iran hasn’t resumed oil export to Sri Lanka due to banking problems despite almost one year has passed since the sanctions on Iran have been eliminated.

The dispute over a huge unpaid oil bill due to Iran by Sri Lanka remains unresolved.

Last October, Mohsen Qamsari, the then director for international affairs of the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) said that the two countries are negotiating to resolve banking problems and it is expected that oil exports will be resumed in the near future.

Sri Lankan media reported that President Maithripala Sirisena has cancelled a planned visit to Iran beginning on January 21.

The Foreign Ministry has told Iranian authorities that President Sirisena will be unable to visit on the agreed dates due to other urgent commitments. However, no formal reasons have been announced. (Colombo Gazette)