Joint press conference chaired by presidents of Iran and Sri Lanka

  • Uma Oya project symbolizes Iran-Sri Lanka cooperation in energy, irrigation, and water management – President of Sri Lanka.
  • There are no boundaries or hindrances in broadening political, economic, trade, and cultural ties between Sri Lanka and Iran – President of Iran.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe emphasized the necessity for Global South countries to capitalize on their strengths and collaborate effectively. He underscored the importance of their voices in tackling global challenges like climate change, food security, debt management, digitization, technological advancement, and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

The President made these remarks during a joint press conference chaired by President Ranil Wickremesinghe and Iranian President Dr. Ebrahim Raisi following the official discussions held at the Presidential Secretariat, (24).

President Ranil Wickremesinghe, expressing delight over Sri Lanka and Iran’s collaborative efforts towards fostering peace, security, and prosperity regionally and globally through diplomatic engagements, highlighted the significance of President Raisi’s visit to Sri Lanka. He anticipated mutual benefits and the emergence of fresh opportunities for collaboration between the two nations, expressing confidence in the potential cooperation.

Addressing the Palestinian matter, the President affirmed Sri Lanka and Iran’s acknowledgment of the legal and inalienable right of the Palestinian people to establish their state. Furthermore, he reiterated Sri Lanka’s steadfast commitment to advocating for a just and comprehensive political resolution to the Palestinian issue, aligning with the United Nations’ proposals for the creation of two neighbouring states within the 1967 borders.

Moreover, the President highlighted the Uma Oya project, inaugurated on 24th April, as a testament to the on-going collaboration between Iran and Sri Lanka in energy generation, irrigation, and water management. He expressed satisfaction that the project stands as a model of cooperation among Global South countries in these vital sectors.

Addressing the audience Iranian President Dr. Ebrahim Raisi emphasized the limitless potential for enhancing political, economic, trade, and cultural ties between Sri Lanka and Iran.

Stressing the mutual advantages inherent in deepening bilateral relations, he highlighted the considerable potentials and capabilities of both nations. The exchange of these opportunities, he noted, would not only benefit both countries but also contribute positively to their respective regions.

During the press briefing, President Ranil Wickremesinghe added that,

I wish to very sincerely thank Dr. Ebrahim Raisi, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran for accepting my invitation to visit Sri Lanka and to declare open Uma Oya Multipurpose Project.

We jointly declared open the Uma Oya Multipurpose Development Project which is designed to generate and add 120 MW to the national electricity grid and also to address water scarcity in the south eastern part of the country, contributing towards increased economic activity, food production, and steady power supply and providing employment to the youth in the area.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Islamic Republic of Iran not only for extending a financing for the Uma Oya Project but also sharing their know-how in the fields of engineering and technology we have jointly handed over the benefits of this project to the people of the area. As I mentioned prior this is the coming together in the modern era, of two ancient irrigation traditions of Persia and Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka.

I wish to congratulate the people of the Islamic Republic of Iran on their remarkable achievements in the other sector such as science and technology, agriculture, and power generation, which are essential requirements in the modern world.

I am pleased that the Uma Oya Project declared open today is a symbol of cooperation between the two countries in the realm of power generation, irrigation and water management, as an example of cooperation in this field between the countries of the Global South.

During our discussions, I extended our appreciation for the support provided by the Government of Islamic Republic Iran to the debt restructuring process of Sri Lanka, following the economic crisis last year.

I conveyed to President Raisi the recent economic stabilization and recovery in Sri Lanka and President Rasisi has expressed his confident in Sri Lanka’s future progress and prosperity.

We agreed that the Global South should work collectively to ensure that its voice is heard when addressing current global challenges such as climate change, food security, debt re-payment, the digital and technological divides, and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. The countries of the global south should build on its strength.

I am pleased that Sri Lanka and Iran stand united in our pursuit of peace, security, and prosperity not only for the region but for all over the world, two diplomacy and discussion

Further, during the deliberations, we addressed key areas of mutual interest, including political, economic and cultural collaboration.

With the expectation of further enhancing our relations, the Government of Sri Lanka and the Government of Iran have signed 5 Agreements in the fields of Culture, Education, Youth Affairs, Media, and Tourism and Film Industry.

We see great potential to enhance bilateral cooperation and people to people contacts in these areas.

We are very pleased that both countries continue to work closely in the multilateral and regional fora including at the United Nations and at other groupings such as the NAM, G-77 and the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA). We have engaged in an open and constructive dialogue on current global challenges, emphasizing the importance of multilateral cooperation.

We agreed that the Global South should work collectively to ensure that its voice is heard when addressing current global challenges such as climate change, food security, debt re-payment, the digital and technological divides, and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. The countries of the global south should build on its strength. Global South nations need to capitalize on their inherent strengths.

We share the serious concerns on the critical situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and the immense suffering of the Palestinian people. Given the need to find peaceful solutions to conflicts, Sri Lanka and Iran recognize the legitimate and inalienable right of the people of Palestine to statehood.

Sri Lanka remains committed to supporting a just and comprehensive negotiated political settlement to the Palestine issue in line with the relevant UN resolutions, leading to the two States living side by side based on the 1967 borders.

Any such solution requires first stop killing in Gaza Strip. Secondly, the establishment of that Palestine State within 05 years. Thirdly, respect for their Sovereignty and fourthly, the security of all states. Unless these are addressed and immediately the deaths are Gaza come towards, it will be difficult to find that solution. Immobilizing the United Nations system will only cause of loss confidence in the system similar to what happened to League of Nations. We are at a critical moment in history.

We call for an urgent and immediate ceasefire and a coordinated effort to ensure unfettered humanitarian access to the people of Gaza. The government of Sri Lanka established a “Children of Gaza Fund” and donated USD1 million to UNRWA on April 01st 2024 for assisting the affected children in Gaza.

I am confident that the visit of His Excellency will open new doors of opportunities for collaboration, benefiting both our nations.

May I also take this opportunity to convey the good wishes for the health and well-being of His Excellency Dr. Raisi, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran and for the continued progress and prosperity of the people of Iran.

Iranian President Dr. Ebrahim Raisi:

I’m very pleased, Mr. President, to be able to visit the friendly country of Sri Lanka and to find this opportunity accompanying my collaborators to be in this country. In fact, today a great project has been completed in Sri Lanka upon the knowledge and expertise and high take of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Regarding this multi-purpose project, we established very good cooperation between our two countries. This was not a normal project. This project was done with high take and it was created by the knowledge and expertise of the Iranian experts for the sake of the welfare of the beloved people of Sri Lanka.

Following the victory of the Islamic Revolution in my country, we established a new project. We established excellent bilateral relations between the Islamic Republic of Iran and Sri Lanka. Of course, these excellent relations have been expanding and developing over the years.

Today, we established very good rounds of negotiations and discussions with Mr. President as well as my team and his team. We agreed to continue and further consolidate our bilateral relations in political, economic, trade, cultural, agriculture, tourism, scientific, as well as technological segments for the sake and benefit of our two nations and countries.

A number of good potentials and capacities exist both in the Islamic Republic of Iran and the friendly country of Sri Lanka. And I personally believe that sharing and transferring these capacities and potentials mutually within our two countries would benefit our two countries, our two nations, and our two regions.

I would also like to thank the minister of foreign Affairs to hold the next round of the Joint Commission for Economic Cooperation between our two countries as soon as possible in order to review and study different mechanisms for further expansion of economic, trade, agriculture, science and technology cooperation between our two countries as soon as possible.

For the information of the beloved people of Sri Lanka, as well as the distinguished officials of these countries, I would like to inform you that no threats or sanctions were able to stop the great people of Iran and they never could disrupt development and progress in the country.

So today we can claim and we can say that the Islamic Republic of Iran is a country of technology and a country of development. We stand ready in order to export our technical and engineering services to Sri Lanka. We stand ready to export our expertise in engineering and technology into Sri Lanka and for sure, exporting these services to Sri Lanka would bring about economic development to Sri Lanka.

So we stand ready to ensure cooperation between our two countries. So the opening of the great project of the construction of Uma Oya multipurpose development project was a very good example of this regard.

Today one of the most important concerns and challenges of not only the Muslim countries and Muslims but all the people living in different parts of the world is Palestine. So a great oppression, a great threat to the country.

It is a huge crime against the people of Palestine and Gaza. And this horrific crime which is a crime against humanity has changed into a source of concern for all people. And this question is made in the minds of all people. But why do the he international bodies and organizations and those who are in charge the international bodies and organizations do not stop the genocide and child killing which is carried out in in Gaza and in Palestine.

Today, it is very regrettable for humanity to see that such extent of crimes and child killing is carried out in Gaza. Of course, this is not only a source of concern for Muslims, but followers of different religions with different inclinations are condemning these atrocities and these killings.

They believe that some individuals in the form of human beings, they are committing some crimes that even animals would not commit that crimes. And even more regrettable is the fact that following a couple of months, support by the United States and the Western countries from these child killing and genocide and atrocities, so the people are asking themselves that what is the logic behind this support?

And unfortunately today, more regrettable is the fact that the United Nations, the United Nations Security Council and all human rights bodies and organizations have lost their efficiency and function and they are not taking any concrete action in order to bring this genocide and bring these crimes and atrocities to an end.

Today, in our discussion with the Sri Lanka side and with President, we share positions at least on two issues. First of all, to bring an immediate end to the bombings and attacks of the Zionist Israeli regime against the innocent people of Gaza, and secondly, to immediately dispatch and send humanitarian assistance, including water, food, medicine and medication to these innocent people.

And the third point that I would like to add is the solution to settle the issue and question of Palestine. The Islamic Republic of Iran has initiated a totally and fully democratic solution, and that is every Palestinian one right to vote. By this, I mean that Palestinians, whether Muslims, Christians or Jewish, each of them will have one right to vote at the ballot boxes so they can decide about their next coming and upcoming state of government. This is a fully and totally justice and at the same time, democratic initiative.

When it comes to oppressing and when it comes to usurping, the Zionist Israeli regime has been committing oppression against the people of Palestine for 75 years. They have been usurping their territories. So when it comes to usurpers and oppressors, we should not let them to let them to have more space and more room to carry out their operations.

But first of all, we need to expel the oppressors. Secondly, we should make them pay the cost for all the damages that they have created. And secondly, and thirdly, we need to bring to justice the oppressors and usurpers. Again, the usurper and oppressor are not brought to justice.

So in the world, there will be no more any guarantee to see that any other group would not use or occupy the lands and territories belonging to other people. If we do not bring them to justice, then they will occupy some new groups, occupy some new territories.

They will force their people, their women and children to get out of those territories. And we should prove that there is a just space system established in the world. We should ask the international tribunals and courts to hold the criminal Zionist Israeli regime accountable to its measures and actions in a very justice manner. So that no one, no individual or no group or no country would kill women and children and to force out the inhabitants of the territory.

I would like to cordially appreciate and thank you for receiving us and for welcoming us and hosting us. Thank you very much as well as thanks from our government. And beloved people of Sri Lanka, on behalf of the Islamic Republic of Iran, there are no restrictions or limitations for the expansion of political, economic, trade as well as cultural connections between our two countries. The Islamic Republic of Iran and the government of Sri Lanka are mutually decisive and determined in order to promote their bilateral relations in political, economic, trade and cultural sectors and arenas. And we believe that our mutual benefits and interests lie in expansion of our bilateral relations.