hold similar views’ – President Kumaratunga and Khatami
Preferential Trade Agreement and Memoranda of Understanding pertaining to
the subjects of Environment, Health, Mutual Co-operation and matters
relating to entry visas were signed this afternoon by Iran and Sri Lanka at
the Islamic Republic Mansion in Teheran.
President Kumaratunga and President Khatami briefed media soon afterwards.
President Khatami speaking first said the agreement and the five MoUs would
provide a base for improved co-operation in trade, and result in stronger
diplomatic ties between the two nations.
He said these agreements would be mutually beneficial, particularly in the
tea trade, manufacturing and petroleum sector. President Khatami was
confident Iran and Sri Lanka could work together in the international arena.
He referred to the common goals of both nations such as seeking peace and
stability in their respective regions, holding similar views on terrorism,
and any form of coercion.
President Khatami said that Sri Lanka and Iran could work together within
the framework of the Non Aligned Movement. Asked about Iran’s nuclear
program and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), he said that Iran
believes in the right to use nuclear power for peaceful purposes.
President Kumaratunga said the two countries could strengthen their
long-established ties, and added “We hold similar views and positions on
many issues; during this visit we explored many areas of possible
co-operation and reached agreements to work in those areas”.
She said that promoting Iranian investment in Sri Lanka, especially in joint
ventures, will help both countries. When asked about IAEA and recent
developments regarding Iran’s nuclear program she said she agrees with
President Khatami’s views and added “Sri Lanka became a member of the
Board of the IAEA recently. We are fully aware of the problem, and we have
been briefed by the Government of Iran and President Khatami. The matter is
under very serious review at the moment”.
President Khatami said Iran could assist in Sri Lanka’s peace process
“We are very appreciative of the Sri Lankan Government’s effort to
establish peace and stability in Sri Lanka which has the capacity to develop
by solving this problem that has retarded its economic development”. He
also said “All communities must live peacefully in a united country; our
social and political groups welcome your efforts in the peace process, and
we call on all parties to support Sri Lanka to solve this issue”.
“As a friend of Sri Lanka, Iran will do anything to establish peace and
stability in your country” said President Khatami.
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Date: November 25, 2004