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Iran ready to provide financial assistance to debt-ridden Sri Lanka

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The Central Bank of Iran (CBI) has noted that it is ready to provide the necessary financial mechanisms for financing trade transactions between Iran and Sri Lanka. 

Speaking during a meeting with Sri Lanka's energy minster in Tehran, the Governor of the CBI, Akbar Komeijani said the expansion of trade and banking relations between Iran and Sri Lanka is possible based on the financing of exports and imports between the two countries and the provision of direct and indirect payment mechanisms. Emphasising the central bank's support for trade between the two countries, Komeijani added, 

"Expanding trade relations and mutual exports and imports, as well as resolving financial issues between the two countries based on understandings and negotiations are on the agenda, and this meeting can be the first step for the development of trade and banking relations between the two countries.”

The CBI governor then suggested that a working group comprised of Sri Lankan and CBI experts, businessmen and other economic actors be set up to provide ways to expand cooperation between the two countries. Sri Lankan officials have expressed the county's willingness for the expansion of cooperation with Iran despite U.S sanctions. 

Earlier this month Sri Lanka's Minister of Energy, Udaya Gammanpila claimed that exploring and discovering oil and gas resources in the Mannar basin is the only way for the country to pay of its crippling debts. Speaking on potential investors to explore oil and gas the minister noted that there are no Sri Lankan businesses able to facilitate this, so he expects to visit the United Arab Emirates, Iran, India, Abu Dhabi and the United States in the next few months in order to search for such investors. There is an estimated US$ 150 billion worth of crude oil In the basin. 

Sri Lanka Foreign Minister G.L. Peiris met with the ambassador of the Iran, Hashem Asjazadeh in early September where discussions surrounding greater economic cooperation were held.

Peiris stressed that greater cooperation with Iran could include enhanced bilateral trade, investment and the possibility of partnerships in new sectors such as tourism and energy.  The Foreign Minister highlighted the long-standing friendly relations between Sri Lanka and Iran which 'have a proud legacy of two ancient and great civilisations'. Ambassador Ashjazadeh assured the firm commitment and support of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the expansion of bilateral cooperation with the government of Sri Lanka. 

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