An Echelon Media Company
Tuesday April 23rd, 2024

Sri Lanka and Iran discuss bilateral cooperation, violence in Gaza

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s President Ranil Wickremesinghe and Iran’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian have discussed the Persian Gulf’s crucial role in broader Indian Ocean security, the ongoing violence in Gaza and opportunities for enhancing bilateral cooperation.

Amir-Abdollahian, who is an official visit, met Wickremesinghe at the Presidential Secretariat on Tuesday evening.

“President Wickremesinghe reiterated the Sri Lankan government’s firm stance on the Gaza conflict, emphasizing the immediate necessity for violence cessation and the urgent need for a peace settlement,” a statement by the president’s media division said.

“He underscored the principle that any peace agreement must be inclusive and not based solely on the demands of either side. Additionally, the President proposed the establishment of a Palestinian State within a timeframe of five years, ensuring the security of both Palestine and Israel.”

Highlighting Sri Lanka’s strategic position in the Indian Ocean, President Wickremesinghe emphasized the nation’s commitment to ensuring Freedom of Navigation, particularly in the Persian Gulf. He stressed the vital role of the Persian Gulf in the broader context of Indian Ocean security, according to the statement.

Minister Amir-Abdollahian expressed Iran’s dedication to fostering tourism to Sri Lanka and strengthening cultural ties between the two nations. He “conveyed Iran’s eagerness to explore avenues for expanded economic cooperation with Sri Lanka.”

Last week, Wickremesinghe told Israel’s Minister of Transport and Road Safety, Brig Gen Miri Regev that Sri Lanka was committed to a two-State solution. “Highlighting Sri Lanka’s stance on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, President Wickremesinghe reiterated the nation’s support for the establishment of a Palestinian State.”

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Sri Lanka president meets Israeli minister

Regev, a former Israeli Defense Force spokesman, was in the island to sign a direct air service agreement between Israel and Sri Lanka to facilitate labour migration, Ports, Shipping, and Aviation Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said in Parliament today. “They are paying salaries of 8-10 lakhs, and are willing to take up to 20,000 Sri Lankan workers.” (Colombo/Feb21/2024)

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Iran President to open Sri Lanka $514mn irrigation, hydro power project

MULTIPURPOSE: Uma Oya multipurpose development project is the largest since the end of the Mahaweli projects.

ECONOMYNEXT – Iran President Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi will inaugurate an irrigation and hydropower project that was designed and built by Iranian engineering firm and was also initially financed before international sanctions hit the project.

The Uma Oya (River) project will irrigate 4,500 acres of new agricultural land, generate 290 Gigawatt hours of electricity and also provide drinking water, a government statement said.

Sri Lanka had awarded an engineering, procurement, construction (EPC) to Iran’s FARAB engineering group to design and construct the 514 million dollar multipurpose project in 2010.

The project was funded until 2013 with a million US dollar credit from the Export Development Bank of Iran but international sanctions prevented the country from continuing financing, a government statement said.

The project continued with funding from Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka had since repaid 19.3 million dollars of the credit and 35.2 million remains outstanding.

The Uma Oya project has a 120MW of hydro power generators, which can generate 290 Giga Watt hours of energy.

Each year 145 million cubic metres of water will be taken from Uma Oya to the Kirindi Oya river valley after generating electricity in an underground power station.

It will irrigate 1,500 hectares of existing agricultural and 4,500 hectares of new land in the Moneragala district, where crops can be cultivated in both the Maha and Yala seasons.

About 39 million cubic meters of water will be used for drinking and industrial purposes.

Two reservoirs built at Dyraaba and Puhulpola in Uma Oya basin is connected by a 3.98 kilometre conveyance tunnel and water is taken through a 15.2 kilomtre headrace tunnel to an underground power station. A tailrace tunnel takes water from the power station to the Kirindi Oya basin.

The project was originally expected to be completed in 2015, but due to financing delays and later water leaking into the headrace tunnel and the Covid pandemic had delayed it. The project completion date was extended to March 31, 2024 and defect liability date to March 31, 2025.

(Colombo/April23/2024 – CORRECTED Iran President Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi will inaugurate an irrigation and hydropower project that was designed and built by Iranian engineering firm.)

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Sri Lanka state oligopoly allowed to import some black gram

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka has allowed the import of some black gram, by three state agencies, according to a gazette notice issued under the hand of President Ranil Wickremesinghe.

Import licenses will be given for 2,000 metric tonnes of the seed classified under HS Code 7312.31.22 and 29.

Sri Lanka State Trading Corporation, National Food Promotion Board and Sri Lanka Hadabima Authority is to be given import licenses.

Traders have resorted to smuggling some types of black gram (ulundu) mis classified as chick peas, to get over high taxes and import restrictions.

Tamil legislators have also protested the import controls, which they go into several key ethnic foods they consume. (Colombo/Apr23/2024)

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Sri Lanka Foreign Ministry consular division shifted to Battaramulla

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Foreign Ministry said it consular division would be shifted to the Suhurupaya building in Subuthipura, Battaramulla from May 02, 2024.

Document authentication services provided by the Consular Affairs Division in Colombo will be suspended on 29 and 30 April 2024 held transfer the Electronic Document Authentication System (e-DAS) to the new premises at Suhurupaya.

Urgent applications for authentication to the Consular Division in Colombo, or any Regional Consular Offices by 4.15 pm on 26 April 2024, the Foreign Ministry said.

Regional Consular Offices in Jaffna, Trincomalee, Kurunegala, Kandy and Matara will remain open to accept applications.

Authenticated documents will be delivered to the applicants only on Thursday, 02 May 2024.

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