Minister of External Affairs Prof. G. L. Peiris on the margins of the UNGA sessions in New York met his Iranian counterpart Mohammed Javad Zarif.
Reiterating the sentiments expressed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa at his meeting with newly elected President Hassan Rouhani of Iran in New York, Minister Peiris underlined the robust relationship Sri Lanka shares with that country. The Minister added that Sri Lanka looked forward to the satisfactory resolution of the issues facing Iran at present.
Minister Zarif appreciated Sri Lanka’s participation at the inauguration of President Rouhani, and explained that Iran attaches significance to the relations with Asia, and the cooperation with Sri Lanka was greatly valued, both bilaterally and multilaterally. He welcomed the succinct and relevant intervention made by Minister Peiris at the NAM meeting, highlighting the applicability of the Movement’s principles which stand valid even today, despite the difference in the context when the NAM was established. The Iranian Minister further noted his country’s development assistance to projects in Sri Lanka. He indicated that Iran will host the 10th Joint Commission with Sri Lanka in Tehran at a mutually convenient time next year. Minister Zarif observed that economic sanctions imposed on Iran impacted on the wrong segment of the population, particularly as the country’s ability to purchase essential items such as medicines was affected.
Minister Peiris recalled the reference made by President Rajapaksa in his address to the UNGA on the inherent problem of sanctions as a flawed instrument of policy which he said was simply an expression of naked power.
Minister Peiris also briefed the Iranian Minister on developments in Sri Lanka, and said that much has been accomplished following the end of the conflict while resolution of certain issues took longer to be comprehensively addressed. He also pointed out the disproportionate attention on Sri Lanka in multilateral fora. The Iranian Minister added that Iran could empathize with this position and understood the complexities attached to the post conflict challenges faced by Sri Lanka.