Sri Lanka’s diplomacy with Russia exemplary- President

President Maithripala Sirisena says Sri Lanka’s diplomacy with Russia has always been exemplary claiming it is evident through the manner in which the tea export issue is being dealt with.

Issuing a twitter message the Head of State said this was yet another example of the friendship between Sri Lanka and Russia.

The President noted that prompt action by the government has paid off and thanks Russia for the country’s cordiality towards Sri Lanka.

The temporary restriction on imports of all agricultural products from Sri Lanka, including tea, imposed by a Russian agricultural safety watchdog came into effect on the 18th of December.

Reuters reported the watchdog said it had taken the decision to impose restrictions after it found an insect, known as the Khapra beetle, in the packaging of one consignment of tea from Sri Lanka.

A Sri Lankan delegation visited Russia to discuss the matter at hand following which Minister of Plantation Industries Naveen Dissanayake said the ban imposed by Russia on tea imports from Sri Lanka will be lifted on the 30th of December.

Meanwhile Minister Dissanayake speaking to the BBC World Service said the Russian government has imposed several conditions in order to lift the ban on tea exports.

The Minister said the conditions were imposed to ensure the standards of the tea.

Accordingly several requests including fumigation to destroy germs, cleanliness of storage facilities and standards certifications will be required.

Minister Navin Dissanayake said the Sri Lankan government agreed to the terms and conditions.

According to customs data Russia has imported 141,300 tonnes of tea worth $436 million in the first 10 months of 2017.

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