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Iran, Sri Lanka agree to improve trade ties, international cooperation

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian (R) and his Sri Lankan counterpart Ali Sabry attend a joint press conference in Tehran on August 5, 2023.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian says the Islamic Republic and Sri Lanka have consensus on the significance of boosting relations in trade and tourism fields and cooperation in international organizations.

Speaking in a joint press conference with Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Ali Sabry in Tehran on Saturday, Amir-Abdollahian said the two Asian countries also believe they should improve scientific and cultural cooperation and making use of the capacities of knowledge-based firms.

Iran and Sri Lanka are capable of removing obstacles in the way of strengthening bilateral cooperation, he said.

Pointing to the Iranian administration's “Look to Asia” policy, Amir-Abdollahian called on Asian countries to serve their national interests through dialogue and interaction given high capacities in the continent.

The top Iranian diplomat further emphasized that Sri Lanka’s upcoming chairmanship of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) provides an opportunity for Iran's enhanced cooperation with Sri Lanka and other members of the organization.

Established on March 7, 1997, the IORA is an inter-governmental organization with 23 Member States and 11 Dialogue Partners, with an ever-growing momentum for mutually beneficial regional cooperation through a consensus-based, evolutionary and non-intrusive approach.

The top Iranian diplomat further said Tehran and Colombo also agreed to free the two sides' prisoners based on the existing agreements and a humanitarian approach, adding that the joint consular committee of the two countries would be set up in this regard.

Amir-Abdollahian also emphasized that Iranian firms active in the field of the export of technical and engineering services can construct oil refineries and power plants in Sri Lanka.

The Sri Lankan foreign minister, for his part, commended the Iranian nation's power and resilience despite numerous acts of hostility and provocation.

Sabry said his country was keen to bolster cordial relations with Iran, saying his current visit to Tehran can open a new chapter in good ties between the two countries.

Describing his country as the gateway to East Asia, he invited the Iranian companies to make investment in Sri Lanka.

The top Sri Lankan diplomat also praised Iran's great technological progress despite sanctions and restrictions.

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