Iran to expedite development projects in Sri Lanka
Colombo, 31 July, (Asiantribune.com): Iran to expedite the implementations of all development projects it has undertaken in Sri Lanka. Dr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iranian President assured that projects Iran has undertaken in Sri Lanka would be speedily concluded, as a manifestation of Iran's goodwill towards President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the Government and the people of Sri Lanka. This assurance was given to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka, Rohitha Bogollagama, when he called on the Iranian President during his brief visit to Tehran to attend the 15th Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Ministerial Conference (29th July 2008).
Conveying his best wishes to President Mahinda Rajapaksa, President Ahmadinejad told the Foreign Minister that his Government would stand by Sri Lanka in its ongoing efforts to achieve peace and prosperity in the country. The Iranian President and Foreign Minister Bogollagama expressed satisfaction at the steadily expanding bilateral relations and partnership between the two countries.
Following the inaugural address of the Iranian President Dr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Foreign Minister Bogollagama spoke on behalf of the Asian Group at the plenary session of the NAM Ministerial Meeting. In his speech, Minister Bogollagama thanked Iran for its leadership and initiative bringing together all countries of the Non-Aligned Movement on a common platform and advancing unified positions on global and regional issues affecting developing countries.
Earlier in the day, the Ministerial Conference chaired by Iranian Foreign Minister Manuchcher Mottaki had endorsed Minister Bogollagama as a Vice Chairman, with the Iranian Minister thanking him for attending the Meeting, despite Minister Bogollagama's pressing commitments, as the incoming chair of the SAARC Council of Ministers.
He emphasized the urgency of strengthening cooperation among NAM countries to address multiple crises and challenges affecting the world, including the scourge of terrorism, challenges of climate change, food crisis and energy security, among others. Identifying terrorism as the most abominable challenge facing both developed and developing countries today, Minister Bogollagama called for effective measures to eliminate this threat, including by the expeditious conclusion of a Comprehensive Convention on Combating Terrorism.
Minister Bogollagama recounted Sri Lanka's experience in defeating terrorism and establishing democracy, describing the ongoing process of re-democratization and peace building in areas secured from the LTTE. He also emphasized the need for an effective operational mechanism at the international level to address issues of food and nutrition security, cautioning however that internationally agreed measures to address the food crisis should not heap additional financial or other burdens on developing countries.
Underscoring the urgency of addressing the issue of energy security which has become a major concern for many NAM member states, the Minister called for enhanced South- South cooperation and for conservation of conventional sources of energy, building up of renewable and alternative energy sources, as well as the maintenance of sustainable energy supplies as long term solutions.
Expressing regret that emergent and persistent challenges continued to impede the efforts of developing countries to advance towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) target for 2015, the Minister said that development should remain on the agenda and the UN should be reformed in a way that would empower peoples and communities.
The Sri Lankan delegation led by Minister Bogollagama included the Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Iran M.M. Zuhair, PC the Acting Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the UN in New York A. L. Abdul Azeez, and the Coordinating Secretary on International Affairs to the President Sajin Vaas Gunawardena.
- Asian Tribune -