President Mahinda Rajapaksa has discussed the possibility of importing crude oil from Azerbaijan when he met its Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov at Temple Trees Monrday, the presidential media unit said in a release.
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.
Mammadyarov spoke favorably of the possibility and said his country would be open to such negotiations. President Rajapaksa 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 Rajapaksa said. Mammadyarov spoke of Sri Lanka’s economic development since the end of the war and said his country had great respect for the President for ending the armed conflict. He described this as a great achievement.
Mammadyarov said Azerbaijan, was a part of the former Soviet Union and was currently a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council.
He said his country was ready to support Sri Lanka internationally. “We stand on the same line on international issues,” Mammadyarov told the President.