State Visit of His Excellency Dr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran to Sri Lanka, 28 - 29 April 2008

President Mahinda Rajapaksa explains a point to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad during an inspection tour of the Sapugaskanda oil refinery whose expansion is being funded by Iran. Work on the project has started.

Joint Statement
His Excellency Dr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, accompanied by a high ranking delegation paid a State Visit to Sri Lanka from 28 to 29 April, 2008 at the invitation of His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksa, the President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka.

The President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, His Excellency Dr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was officially welcomed by the Sri Lankan President His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksa at a formal ceremony held at the Bandaranaike International Airport.

His Excellency Dr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad held wide-ranging discussions with President Rajapaksa, attended by Ministers and senior officials of both sides. The discussions which took place in a cordial atmosphere, were detailed and substantive, covering issues of bilateral, regional and global interest. Both Presidents, while noting with satisfaction the progress achieved in bilateral relations, stressed their firm commitment to further enhance mutual cooperation in the political, economic, trade, cultural, educational, scientific and technological fields. The discussions reaffirmed the close and friendly ties that exist between Sri Lanka and Iran.

The two Presidents agreed to broaden and deepen their bilateral cooperation, in a spirit of mutual goodwill and friendship. They also agreed to continue regular high-level exchanges between the two countries.

The two Presidents also discussed important regional and international issues and stated that unilateralism would undermine internationally accepted norms.
The two Presidents briefed each other on issues of common interest and current developments in their respective countries.

Both sides condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and emphasized the need for enhanced international cooperation to eliminate this global menace. The Iranian side expressed its support for the sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of Sri Lanka and welcomed the positive political steps taken to end the conflict through negotiations, leading to a durable settlement, acceptable to all the people of Sri Lanka.

The Sri Lankan side supported the peaceful use of nuclear energy by Iran, within the framework of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The two sides confirmed the full and non-discriminatory implementation of Article IV of the NPT on peaceful nuclear co-operation.

The two sides reiterated the importance of global nuclear disarmament, particularly the need for the nuclear powers to destroy their nuclear weapons, based on the decisions of the relevant international meetings.

The two sides expressed their deep concern over the violence against the Palestinian people in the Palestinian territories and recognized the inalienable rights and the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people at the highest level, and will continue to express their solidarity with the Palestinian people. Both sides also expressed the hope that the differences among the different groups in Palestine will be resolved amicably.

The two sides, stressing the need for the consolidation of national unity and understanding, peaceful co-existence and the preservation of the stability, security and peace in Lebanon, supported initiatives among different Lebanese parties through consensus and the participation of all Lebanese political groups in the process of deciding all issues of concern, as the only way out of the current crisis in Lebanon.

Both sides emphasized the need for the preservation of the territorial integrity and unity of Iraq and the participation of all Iraqi groups in the political process and expressed their support for the efforts of the elected Iraqi government to restore security and stability in Iraq.

The two sides expressed concern over the escalation of insecurity and instability in Afghanistan, and supported, as a matter of priority, the endeavour by the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan for the restoration of peace and stability.

The two sides underscored the potential for expansion of bilateral economic co-operation, which would greatly strengthen the existing bonds of friendship and co-operation between the two countries and be conducive to the common progress and prosperity of the peoples of Iran and Sri Lanka, inter alia, by encouraging the private sectors of both countries to invest in each other.

Recalling the visit of His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksa, President of Sri Lanka to Iran in November 2007, and the Agreements and MOUs reached between the two countries in the areas of power supply and irrigation as well as the expansion of the oil refinery facility in Sri Lanka, both sides expressed their deep satisfaction at the ceremonial inauguration of the Uma Oya multi purpose development project and the Sapugaskanda oil refinery project respectively, with the assistance of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, during the visit of His Excellency the President of Iran to Sri Lanka.

Both sides also noted with satisfaction, the conclusion of the following MOUs and Agreements during the visit of the President of Iran to Sri Lanka.

(i) MOU on the Establishment of the Political Consultation Mechanism between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Islamic Republic of Iran.

(ii) MOU between Mahinda Rajapaksa Sports Development Foundation of Sri Lanka and Mostazafan Foundation of the Islamic Revolution of Iran to build and operate "Iranian Club-Colombo" in Diyagama, Homagama, Sri Lanka.

(iii) Heads of Agreement between the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation and the National Iranian Oil Refining and Distribution Company.

(iv) Financing Agreement between the Ministry of Finance & Planning of Sri Lanka and the Export Development Bank of Iran for the Uma Oya multi-purpose development project.

(v) Contract Agreement between the Ministry of Irrigation and Water Management of Sri Lanka and Farab Energy and Water Projects Company of Iran for the Uma Oya multi-purpose development project.

The President of Sri Lanka His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksa expressed his profound appreciation and sincere thanks to the President of Iran His Excellency Dr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for the assistance that has been pledged for the socio -economic development of Sri Lanka, which would be of direct benefit to its people.

Given the ever increasing importance of regional co-operation, both sides agreed to welcome and support various initiatives for the strengthening of such co-operation in Asia, inter alia, such as the Economic Co-operation Organization (ECO), South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation (SAARC), Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Co-operation (IOR-ARC), Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), Asia Middle East Dialogue (AMED) and the Colombo Plan.

The President of the Islamic Republic of Iran His Excellency Dr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad thanked the Government and the people of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka for the warm hospitality accorded to him and his delegation during his visit.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Colombo

29 April 2008

* Source : Ministry of Foreign Affairs