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Sri Lanka appeals to Russia to lift temporary tea ban

  • Author:Kyrene Zuo
  • Release on:2017-12-19
Sri Lanka is making a special appeal to Russian President Vladimir Putin to remove a ban on Ceylon tea.

Two ministers are leading a delegation to Moscow to request the suspension on Sri Lankan tea imports is lifted.

Imports were halted last week after Russia found an insect known as the Khapra beetle in a tea consignment from Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka is determined to settle the issue as it maintains the discovery was an "isolated incident".

It is not clear whether the beetle, a known pest of rice and grain crops, was found alive or dead.

President Maithripala Sirisena has urged Sri Lankan tea farmers not to panic, assuring them that the government would take necessary steps to settle the issue.

Mr Sirisena told a rally on Sunday that he was optimistic that "as a friendly country", Russia would help Sri Lanka.

Plantation Minister Navin Dissanayake and Industry Minister Rishad Bathiudeen are leading the special delegation to Moscow to reassure the Russian government.

Russia is one of the biggest importers of Sri Lankan tea, which accounts for nearly a quarter of its $436m (£326m) market.

Sri Lanka has insisted that a thorough investigation will be carried out and that punitive measures will be taken against anyone found guilty of tampering with its consignment.