President Sirisena off to Iran | Sunday Observer

President Sirisena off to Iran

President Maithripala Sirisena left on a two-day state visit to Iran yesterday to improve trade relations and secure investment from the Islamic republic, a statement from his office said.

President Sirisena will hold talks with his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani on strengthening cooperation in the energy sector and will also seek Iranian investment, according to the statement.

The two leaders will sign a memorandum of understanding on “further strengthening the economic and trade ties between the two countries.”

Sri Lanka, an oil importer, turned to Saudi Arabia and Oman for crude oil during the height of international sanctions against Iran.

Before the sanctions regime, Iran was a key buyer of Sri Lankan tea. Sri Lanka’s only oil refinery is geared to handle Iranian light crude. Iran pledged $450 million for an irrigation project in Sri Lanka in 2008, but the funds were delayed due to the sanctions, AFP reported.

The President will also attend a investment and trade forum organised by the Iranian Chamber of Commerce.