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Sri Lanka looks to deepen ties with Iran as warships dock in Colombo

As part of high-profile diplomatic visit by Iran’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, to Sri Lanka, two Iranian warships IRINS Bushehr and Tonb also docked at Colombo Port.

Minister Amir-Abdollahian met with Sri Lanka's President Ranil Wickremesinghe and foreign minister, Ali Sabry, who highlighted the need further cooperation between the two countries in politics, economics, trade, tourism, science, and technology. 

Sabry heaped praise on Iran's economic and industrial strengths and the island's eagerness to welcome Iranian economic projects whilst Wickremesinghe claimed that Sri Lanka maintained its support for a ceasefire in the ongoing Gaza conflict. 

Wickremesinghe reportedly told Iran's foreign minister that “any peace agreement must be inclusive and not based solely on the demands of either side". Wickremesinghe further proposed that it would be possible to establish a Palestinian State within five years.

Despite, Sri Lanka's rhetoric, the government has openly pursued closer ties with Israel and announced that it was working with Israel to increase air connectivity. Israel’s Minister of Transport and Road Safety, Brig. Gen. Miri Regev was in Sri Lanka recently to sign an agreement will accelerate the process of sending Sri Lankan migrant workers to Israel and it will also enable Israeli businessmen to visit Sri Lanka with their families.

Iran's government, which is highly critical of Israel and is accused of materially supporting Hamas, has published a statement showing appreciate for Sri Lanka's claimed support for Palestinians.

Highlighting Sri Lanka’s strategic position in the Indian Ocean, Wickremesinghe emphasised the country's commitment to ensuring Freedom of Navigation, particularly in the Persian Gulf. Amir-Abdollahian further asserted Iran’s dedication to fostering tourism to Sri Lanka and strengthening cultural ties between the two nations. He further conveyed Iran’s eagerness to explore avenues for expanded economic cooperation with Sri Lanka. 

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