Dec 17, Colombo: Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena says he will make a special request to the Russian President Vladimir Putin to consider temporarily suspending the ban on Sri Lanka's tea imports.
President Sirisena said Sri Lanka will take prompt measures to get the temporary ban imposed on tea exports to Russia, which is a major buyer of Sri Lankan tea, revoked.
The Russian agricultural safety watchdog, Russian Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance (Rosselkhoznadzor) announced that it has decided impose restrictions on Sri Lankan tea imports after an insect, a Khapra beetle, was found in the packaging of one consignment of tea from Sri Lanka.
President Sirisena said a special delegation led by Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen and Minister of Plantations Navin Dissanayake will be dispatched to Moscow tonight to discuss the issue.
Addressing a meeting at Haputale today, the President said Russia is a friend of Sri Lanka and he expects as a friendly nation Russia will continue to support Sri Lanka and that no one in the tea industry should be unnecessarily worried.
President Sirisena said an investigation will be launched into the incident and if the company that sent the tea package with the insect harmful to the agriculture as well as to the tea industry was found negligible, legal will be taken against the company and to cancel their export license.
Speaking on media reports published today by several organizations of the retired public officers, the President said necessary arrangements will be made within the next week to resolve issues of the public servants and grant their allowances and privileges.
Today's meeting at Haputale was the public rally of the United People's Freedom Alliance held under the patronage of President Sirisena for the Local Government Elections. The meeting was organized by the Ceylon Workers' Congress under the leadership of Senthil Thondaman.
The President also expressed his satisfaction that it was possible to conduct his first public meeting in the election campaign with the estate working people.
The President said this election is an occasion for the people who has a feel for the country to stand together and It should not be a hindrance to the program of reconciliation and development of the country.
Former Deputy Chairman of the Haldummulla Pradeshiya Sabha Sugaranan Nayyar and former Haputale Pradeshiya Sabha member Asoka Udayakumara who had earlier represented the United National Party (UNP) also joined the SLFP in support of the President.
Ministers Nimal Siripala de Silva, Uva Province Chief Minister Chamara Sampath Dassanayake, Provincial Minister Senthil Thondaman and other provincial politicians and politicians were present.