Sri Lanka President calls Russia’s Putin, to visit UAE to seek fuel – Aluthgamage
ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has discussed the island nation’s fuel crisis with the Russian President Vladimir Putin and is expected to visit the United Arab Emirates in the near future, his close ally and legislator Mahindananda Aluthgamage said.
Sri Lanka is witnessing a gradual shutdown as the country does not have scheduled any fuel shipment in the foreseeable future. The government has already asked over 1 million of its state sector employees to work from home while closing down all the schools in key cities until July 10 to save fuel only for essential services.
Sri Lanka’s fuel crisis comes after it ran out of foreign currencies to import fuel. Rajapaksa administration was ale to manage fuel supply at a reduced quantity from March to June after India helped with a $700 million fuel credit.
“President Gotabaya called the Russian President to import fuel from Russia. Also he plans to go on a tour to UAE to discuss with their leaders to import fuel,” Aluthgamage told a media briefing on Wednesday (28).
Rajapaksa’s visit to a Middle Eastern country would be significant after his government shot down a repeated request to stop cremation of died ethnic minority Sri Lankan Muslims due to Covid-19 pandemic by Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC) in which includes Middle Eastern countries as members.
Many OIC countries including UAE, Oman, and Saudi Arabia have failed to response to Rajapaksa government’s request to help with fuel credit to face the crisis, government officials have told Economy Next. The Power and Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera is in Qatar and made a similar request on Tuesday when he met his Qatari counterpart.
Sri Lanka’s diplomacy with Russia has made it difficult to discuss the fuel import issue at a lower level, a foreign ministry official has told EconomyNext. As a result, President Rajapaksa himself is expected to speak to the highest Russian political leadership and Sri Lanka’s past diplomatic misconducts under Rajapaksa have made it difficult for the country, the official said.
“We hope to have a continuous fuel supply from July 10 onwards for all services,” Aluthgamage said, (Colombo/June 29/2022)