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U.S. punishing small nations: MR

31 January 2012 09:52 am - 14     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


As the combined United States and European Union sanctions against Iran take effect, small nations like Sri Lanka are extremely worried. Sri Lanka depends almost entirely on Iran for its crude oil supplies and the only refinery in the country, Sapugaskanda, can only process Iranian crude.

“We are discussing on what we should do,” Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa said, when asked what the options before the country were. The Iranians provide a seven-month credit facility, and 93 per cent of the crude comes from Iran. A major part of the crude is converted to fuel oil at Sapugaskanda, a facility put up in the sixties and which is in dire need of renovation. Fuel oil powers the turbines to produce electricity. The President was answering questions from foreign correspondents based in Colombo, at a breakfast interaction at his official residence, Temple Trees.

“We need an alternative. Finally they [the US and the West] are not punishing Iran. They are punishing us, small countries,” Mr.Rajapaksa said. Asked if Sri Lanka is considering approaching the U.S. for a waiver of the sanctions, he said: “We might. Otherwise how do we survive?”

Asked if the U.S. Embassy in Colombo had written to the Central Bank of Sri Lanka warning the Bank not to make dollar payments to Iran, the Central Bank Governor, Ajith Nivard Cabraal said that the general sanctions have been notified. “There has been no real interaction so far,” he said.

Mr.Rajapaksa said that Sri Lanka was also considering approaching China and India for help. Asked if Sri Lanka will follow the example set by India - India has said will not be guided by US sanctions, only UN sanctions – he said that this has to first be studied.

On the question of modernising the refinery, Mr.Rajapaksa said that discussions were on with a few countries, including Canada and the Czech Republic. In fact, the Czech Export Bank had, last year, written to the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation, detailing its interest in participating in modernisation of the plant.
Meanwhile, the US Assistant Secretary of State and former US Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Robert O’ Blake is expected to visit Colombo and hold discussions with leaders here. Also expected is the much-delayed visit of an Indian Petroleum Ministry delegation in the first week of February. (Source: The Hindu)

  Comments - 14

  • easy wara Tuesday, 31 January 2012 10:10 AM

    Oil is oil. What is the immunity that prevents it process thru Sapugaskanda.

    Nodrog Tuesday, 31 January 2012 10:32 AM

    are we obliged to follow US sanctions? They have a problem with Iran not us. Is this an in-direct hit on us for 'war'crimes' allegations?

    saman Tuesday, 31 January 2012 10:35 AM

    yes, be in middle path as our Lord Buddha said. Don't too much weight on Iran or Chine

    Nodrog Tuesday, 31 January 2012 10:48 AM

    we have no quarrel with Iran. Also it's only a US embargo so are we obliged to follow?

    Intellectual Spring Tuesday, 31 January 2012 11:08 AM

    Very nice foreign policy

    Lanka Tuesday, 31 January 2012 11:24 AM

    We should not depend solely on one country for anything. It does not have to be sanctions but for other reasons and we will be in the same situation.

    J.D Tuesday, 31 January 2012 11:24 AM

    Bettr talk with Obama and negociate........

    prf Tuesday, 31 January 2012 01:18 PM

    we are small?

    Ding Dong Wednesday, 01 February 2012 02:28 AM

    SL punishing minorities and US punishing SL

    jack Wednesday, 01 February 2012 03:38 AM

    buffalo america

    Funny man Wednesday, 01 February 2012 03:43 AM

    Us is punishing small country! Like we sentence three wheel driver to death for 6 gem drugs ?

    raj Wednesday, 01 February 2012 04:11 AM

    US is a good collaborator of Sri Lanka during and after the war in many ways.

    gamaya Wednesday, 01 February 2012 04:05 AM

    why don't you google it first?

    Donkey Kong Wednesday, 01 February 2012 04:42 AM

    As a previous Prime Minister said, "We don't have to take orders from those who don't wash their behinds." Perhaps, he and his buddies should be asked to find some oil for Sapugaskanda.

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