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Iranian president arrives in Sri Lanka

New Delhi, Apr 28, IRNA -- The President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Monday evening arrived in Colombo, Sri Lanka on a two-day official visit.

He was welcomed at the Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayaka and Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama. The Navy accorded a Guard of Honour by offering 21 gun salute to the visiting President.

Behnam Behrooz, ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran to Sri Lanka was also present at the airport to receive the visiting president.

Heading a high-ranking delegation, the president would hold talks with his counterpart, Mahinda Rajapaksa, Prime Minister Ratnasiri and Foreign Minister Bogollagama.

During President Ahmadinejad's visit to Colombo, several documents are expected to be signed by Iranian and Sri Lankan officials for promotion of bilateral cooperation.

Iran-funded 450 million-dollar multi-purpose Uma Oya Project will ommence on Tuesday when the Iranian president and his Sri Lankan counterpart ceremonially inaugurate the mega development project in Sri Lanka.

After completion the Uma Oya project will add 100 megawatts of power to the national grid. This will be the longest ever hydro-tunnel built in the country. The dam which would be constructed across the Uma Oya in Puhulpolla, Welimada, in the Uva Province, will irrigate the Kirindi Oya reservoir in Wellawaya.

The project will also provide potable water, irrigate and facilitate agriculture and other industries in the Uva and southern provinces. The project will generate both direct and indirect new job opportunities to the region and open doors for new development programs.

Other major projects due to be inaugurated on Tuesday by the Iranian president is the expansion of the Sapugaskanda refinery which will make Sri Lanka self-sufficient in aviation fuel and bitumen (tar).

Both projects are funded by the Islamic Republic of Iran to the tune of over dlrs 1.9 billion, which was pledged during President Mahinda Rajapaksa's state visit to Iran in November last year.

Several bilateral agreements will be signed during the Iranian president's visit.

... Payvand News - 04/28/08 ... --

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