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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2828

Red Carpet Welcome for Iranian President in Sri Lanka

Sunil C. Perera and Chithralal Jayasinghe in Colombo

Colombo, 29 April, ( Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrived at the Bandaranaike International Air Port around 7.30 pm local time on a two-day state visit.

He was welcomed at the International Airport by Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The Navy accorded a Guard of honor by offering 21 gun salutes to the visiting President.

Iranian President headed a high ranking delegation which included Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki, Commerce Minister Mir Kazemi, Deputy Petroleum Minister Ali Kordan, Deputy Power Minister Dr. Rasool Zagar, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs for Asia and Pacific Seyyed Mohammad Ali Hosseni and General Abdol Ali Najafi, Chief of Security.

Later, Iran and Sri Lanka signed five Memorandums of Understanding on Monday. The MoUs on establishment of Iranian Club in Sri Lanka, Creating a consultation body between the two countries, developing production capacity of an oil refinery, financing a dam project and a hydroelectric power plant, cooperation on executing aforementioned projects were signed by officials of the two countries in the presence of the two presidents.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his counterpart President Mahinda Rajapaksa after the signing ceremony attended a joint press conference.

President Rajapaksa addressing journalists at a press conference said that Iranian economic aid was most opportune and timely for the people of Sri Lanka in an era where irrigation for cultivation was of paramount importance.

President Ahmadinejad pointed out that there had been a constructive dialog for the betterment and economic prosperity of the two countries whose cooperation has been increasing, and has the capacity to increase further.

The main focus of the Iranian President's visit would be the inauguration of the US$ 450 million multi-purpose Uma Oya irrigation project in Wellawaya today.

The other major project due to be inaugurated today is the oil refinery which is due to be expanded in the outskirts of Colombo. It is expected to make Sri Lanka self-sufficient in Aviation fuel and tar. The project will increase the daily output capacity of 50,000 barrels to 150,000 barrels of refined oil.

Both the projects worth over US dollars 1.9 billion which are funded by Iran as a result of President Mahinda Rajapaksa's State visit to Iran in November last year.

Iran and Sri Lanka Presidents (Pixs - Sudath Silva)Iran and Sri Lanka Presidents (Pixs - Sudath Silva)

- Asian Tribune -

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