Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse has discussed the possibility of importing crude oil from Azerbaijan, a statement from the president’s office said yesterday.
The idea was talked of when Rajapakse met Azerbaijan Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov at his office on Monday evening.
Explaining the difficulties that small developing nations are facing due to sanctions on Iran, the president said it would help reduce the burden on Sri Lanka by turning to other sources.
More than 90% of Sri Lanka’s crude oil imports come from Iran and even though it has been exempted partially by the United States, the island faces challenges in oil imports.
Mammadyarov spoke favuorably of the possibility and said his country would be open to such negotiations. President Rajapakse also encouraged Azerbaijan to consider investing in Sri Lanka and urged members of its private sector to visit Sri Lanka and assess the possibilities for themselves.
“This is the best time to come and invest in Sri Lanka,” President Rajapakse was quoted as saying in the statement.
Mammadyarov said his country was ready to support Sri Lanka internationally. “We stand on the same line on international issues,” he told the Sri Lankan
Since the end of a three-decade war in 2009 Sri Lanka has begun exploration for oil off its northwestern shore and has found two wells of gas. However, the financial viability of the discoveries is still being ascertained and so far no oil has been found.
Sri Lanka spends around $5bn a year on oil imports.(Gulf times)