to assist SL in offshore oil exploration
the second day [Thursday 25th November] of her official visit to Teheran
President Chandrika Kumaratunga held discussions with the Chairman of the
Expediency Council and former President of Iran Hashemi Rafsanjani. A range
of issues were discussed during the 45-minute meeting at his official
President Kumaratunga briefed Mr. Rafsanjani about the developments in
bilateral relations between the two countries in the economic, trade,
cultural, technical and diplomatic fields. She thanked the Government of
Iran for its support in the trade front and its increased confidence in Sri
Lanka. President Kumaratunga also promised to extend technical assistance
and Sri Lankan expertise to improve the quality of tea production in Iran.
President Kumaratunga briefed Mr. Rafsanjani about the domestic issues in
Sri Lanka; she said the war has come to a halt under a Ceasefire agreement
with the militant LTTE. The LTTE has expressed its willingness to explore a
federal solution within a united country. The direct talks have stalled
since April 2003. However the LTTE continues to kill Tamil political leaders
and activists, and conscript children for the organization in violation of
Explaining the economic trends, President Kumaratunga said there has been a
5-6 percent growth during the past decade. Sri Lanka would welcome Iranian
investors in joint ventures, as such ventures would provide access to
markets in India and Pakistan she said. She also requested Mr. Rafsanjani to
consider assistance for offshore exploration for petroleum resources in Sri
President Kumaratunga said different religious groups, one of which is Islam
co-exist peacefully in Sri Lanka. Mr. Rafsanjani was very happy to hear
that. He also admired the freedom Sri Lankan women enjoy in society.
Former Iranian President explained the importance of the unity among Asian
nations for the optimum use their human and natural resources. We should
share our knowledge and resources to face the challenges of the Western
World and Iran has the capacity for improved co-operation in this regard.
The Iranian leader said his country would help off-shore oil exploration in
Sri Lanka. He said promoting tourism would help establish close ties and
mutual development among the peoples of the two countries. He also suggested
Sri Lanka could export more tropical fruit to Iran where there is a huge
demand this commodity.
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Date: November 25, 2004