,We are seeking justice and fair play in the world and Sri Lanka an Iran have agreed to cooperate in all spheres for the mutual benefit of each other," said Iranian President Dr. Mahmoud Ahmadinajad yesterday(28).
Addressing a joint media briefing with President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the Presidential Secretariat last night, the Iranian President said Iran and Sri Lanka were committed to protecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of each other, and it was very clear that cooperation in the political, economic, and cultural spheres between Sri Lanka and Iran would benefit both countries and also help in strengthening regional cooperation.
He added that since the Islamic Revolution, Iran had made great stride sin the scientific and technical spheres and was ready to share the benefits of these achievements with its friends. He said Sri Lanka and Iran had very aspirations based on previous good relations, that had grown very much today. Under the leader of Sri Lanka by President Rajapaksa there was the opportunity to expand this relationship between the two countries for the benefit of both.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa thanked Iran for the continued friendship and assistance to Sri Lanka, said the agreements signed would help Sri Lanka considerably, and mentioned the benefits to agriculture and the rural sector, especially in Moneragala and Hambantota Districts from the Uma Oya Project funded by Iran, and the doubling of Sri Lanka's crude oil refining capacity with the modernizing of the Sapugaskanda refinery with Iranian assistance.
The media briefing took place after the signing of six agreements between Iran and Sri Lanka for a range of political, economic and cultural cooperation, which was preceded by bi-lateral talks between the delegations of the two countries led by the Presidents of Sri Lanka and Iran. He said the concessionary terms provided by Iran were a great help to Sri Lanka at a time I rising oil prices win the world.
Earlier, the two presidents had one-to-one discussions, which though scheduled for 15 minutes went on for nearly 45 minutes despite the tight schedule of the Iranian President's programme.
The agreements signed last night included two MoUs on the establishment of a Political Consultative Mechanism between the two countries and Iranian Development Assistance to Sri Lanka; and agreements on Financial Assistance for the expansion and modernizing of the Sapugaskanda Oil Refinery, financial assistance the Uma Oya Project and agreement between the Mahinda Rajapaksa Sports Foundation and the Mostazafan Foundation of Iran for the development of a sports complex in Sri Lanka.
The Iranian President was received by President Mahinda Rajapaksa on his arrival at the Bandaranaike International Airport last evening, ands was accorded full state honours including 21 Gun Salute by the Sri Lanka Army and a Guard of Honour by the Sri Lanka Navy.
He is due to visit the Sapugaskanda Petroleum Refinery this morning to participate in the launch of work on modernizing the refinery, and if weather permits, will visit the site of the Uma Oya Project for its ceremonial launch.
Courtesy: Policy Research & Information Unit- Presidential Secretariat