Sri Lanka president visits Iran for oil trade deals

Sri Lanka's President Maithripala Sirisena left on a two-day visit to Iran today to improve trade relations and secure investment from the Islamic republic, his office said.

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 an official statement.

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

The visit comes as world leaders scramble to salvage a key nuclear deal with Iran after President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the accord.

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. Sri Lanka's only oil refinery is geared to handle Iranian light crude.

Iran pledged USD 450 million for an irrigation project in Sri Lanka in 2008, but the funds were delayed due to the sanctions.

Sirisena's office said he will also attend a special investment and trade forum organised by the Iran Chamber of Commerce.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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