Iranian President Arrives in Sri Lanka

A01349764.jpgTEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is in Sri Lanka on the second leg of his tour of South Asia.

Ahmadinejad will visit a refinery and hydro-electric and irrigation schemes that have received Iranian aid.

Iran is emerging as a major economic donor in Sri Lanka.

Ahmadinejad held talks in Pakistan on Monday, and is also due to visit India during his trip to the region.

Sri Lanka’s government has hailed his visit as cementing relations with Iran.

The capital is festooned with flags, and bill boards proclaiming “Traditional Asian Solidarity”.

The island nation is slowly turning towards Asian countries which offer more donor money than traditional Western allies while they don’t have the ballyhoo and boastful, but hollow, claims West makes over human rights issues in third world countries.

Foreign Secretary Dr Palitha Kohona told the BBC, “Asians don’t hector each other from public pulpits. They’re more ready with assistance and less ready with gratuitous advice.”

During his visit President Ahmadinejad will tour development projects which Iran is helping to fund.

Iran has already agreed soft loans and grants of $1.9bn for a hydroelectric and irrigation scheme and to upgrade a refinery, as well as to buy Iranian oil.

China has also come forward with money for a new port and other projects.

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