Sri Lanka says Iran to give 1.5 billion dollars aid

Nov 28, 2007 (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s president secured 1.5 billion dollars worth of financial aid from Iran for infrastructure projects while on a three-day visit to the country, his office said on Wednesday. President Mahinda Rajapakse concluded his trip to Iran on Tuesday by signing eight memorandums of understanding (MoUs) with his Iranian counterpart for a range of projects including expanding an oil refinery and irrigation.

“Iran donated a massive sum of 1.5 billion dollars in financial assistance, with the two countries signing an MoU to develop programmes of oil refineries and irrigation projects in Sri Lanka,” the president’s office said Wednesday.

Iran supplies 70 percent of Sri Lanka’s light crude requirements.

Sri Lanka plans to triple the capacity of its sole oil refinery to 150,000 barrels per day from 50,000 barrels per day.

Iran has allocated 700 million dollars out of the bilateral financial package to upgrade the facility, the statement said. “Implementation of the agreements would help boost bilateral co-operation,” Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying in the statement issued jointly by the two countries.