(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and President Maithripala Sirisena met in Tehran yesterday to confer on ways to expand economic and trade ties between the two sides. Following the signing of five MoUs on economic and cultural cooperation, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and his Sri Lankan counterpart Maithripala Sirisena attended a joint press conference on Sunday in Tehran.
Speaking at the press conferance, President Rouhani noted that the talks with President Sirisena focused on the sale of Iranian crude oil, petrochemicals, building blocks, as well as technical and engineering services. He went on to express hopes that the agreements reached in all sectors of economy and trade would be followed up during the upcoming Joint Economic Commission’s meeting of the two countries in Tehran.
Rouhani also added that the two sides called for establishment of a direct flight between Tehran and Colombo to boost tourism. Iranian President Rouhani talked about Iran’s nuclear deal which once again made headlines in the wake of US withdrawal, saying “it is with great pleasure that I can say the Islamic Republic of Iran has lived up to every agreement it has signed, and it is of much regret that the US as one of the signatories of the JCPOA that was approved by the United Nations, has violated the agreement.”
“The US has announced that it has pulled out from the nuclear deal, which means a clear violation of ethics, politics and the correct diplomatic ways,” he added. President Rouhani further welcomed President Sirisena’s invitation for a state visit to Colombo.
President Sirisena, for his part, stressed the need for development of bilateral ties between the two countries, describing Iran as one of the major purchasers of his country’s tea, and a key exporter of crude oil. He added that his government has put in a request for the import of more crude oil from Iran.
Elsewhere, he referred to Iran and Sri Lanka as the oldest and most senior members of the Non-Aliened Movement (NAM), saying that his country is committed to follow in the footsteps of NAM. “Our policy is to consider all nations of the world as our friends,” he said. “Therefore our foreign policy is based on neutrality.”
President Sirisena also called for more investment from the state and private sectors of Iran, and voiced appreciation at Iran’s assistance to Sri Lanka in boosting the country’s economic sector.
Iran, Sri Lanka ink five MoUs
Iran and Sri Lanka signed five Memoranda of Understanding in the presence of the two countries’ presidents in Tehran on Sunday to increase bilateral cooperation in different fields.The first Memorandum of Understanding in the field of fighting against drug trafficking was signed by Iran’s Interior Minister Rahmani Fazli and Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana.
The second Memorandum of Understanding was on health, medical science, medicine and medical equipment which was signed by the two countries’ health ministers.The third Memorandum of Understanding, which was signed between the Institute for Standards and Industrial Research of Iran (ISIRI) and the Sri Lankan Standard Institute, was on cooperation on standardization, training and laboratory services between the two countries. The fourth document was inked in the film industry between the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance of Iran and the National Film Company of the Republic of Sri Lanka. Iran and Sri Lanka also signed a memo on cooperation in cultural, scientific and educational field to increase exchange of knowledge and students between the two sides.
President Maithripala Sirisena and his accompanying delegation arrived in Tehran on Sunday morning for a two-day state visit and was warmly welcomed by Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani at the Saadabad Palace.