Sept 27, New York: Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Iran's President Hassan Rouhani pledged to further strengthen the already friendly relations between the two countries when they met Thursday in New York on the sidelines of the ongoing 68th Session of the United Nations General Assembly.
President Rajapaksa thanked President Rouhani for Iran's support to Sri Lanka, particularly in the energy sector and with other major infrastructure projects.
"We always appreciate the support that you give us," President Rajapaksa said.
President Rajapaksa also explained to President Rouhani how Sri Lanka suffered for the past three decades because of terrorism and described how the country is recovering and rebuilding after the war ended in 2009, including infrastructure development, resettlement of internally displaced persons and conducting elections in conflict-affected areas.
"We will continue our efforts to maintain friendly relations," President Rouhani assured President Rajapaksa.
The two presidents also spoke about supporting one another in matters of international affairs with President Rajapaksa pointing out that Muslim countries have always supported Sri Lanka in international fora.
President Rouhani said that the way forward would be for developing nations to build closer relationships and start speaking as one voice.
"We must continue to help one another to be sustainably unified," President Rouhani said, adding that countries should not let separatism and conflict take root in their regions.
Among the delegation accompanying President Rouhani were Permanent Representative of Iran to the United Nations Ambassador Mohammad Khazaee, Special Adviser to the President Hussein Fereydon, Chief-of-Staff at the Iranian President's Office Nahavandian,
The Minister of External Affairs Prof. G.L. Peiris, Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources Management Nimal Siripala de Silva, Minister of Youth Affairs and Skills Development Dullas
Alahapperuma, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations Dr. Palitha Kohona and Additional Secretary to the Ministry of External Affairs Mrs. Kshenuka Seneviratne were present at the meeting.
(Photos by Sudath Silva)