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Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi to Inaugurate Uma Oya Multipurpose Development Project

April 24, Colombo (LNW): The President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Dr. Ebrahim Raisi, is set to embark on a significant journey to Sri Lanka. His mission? To inaugurate the long-awaited Uma Oya Multipurpose Development Project (UOMDP), marking a historic milestone in the bilateral relations between the two nations.

This visit comes in response to a special invitation extended by Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremasinghe, marking the first visit of an Iranian President to Sri Lanka since the notable visit of former President Dr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in April 2008.

The highlight of President Raisi’s itinerary will be his participation in a public ceremony marking the inauguration of the Uma Oya Multipurpose Development Project (UOMDP) this morning. This project, akin to the grand Mahaweli Development Project, stands as one of Sri Lanka’s largest irrigation endeavors, aiming to address water scarcity in the southeastern dry region of the country.

President Raisi’s visit is not merely ceremonial; it holds substantial diplomatic weight as well. Five Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) are set to be signed during his visit, aiming to strengthen bilateral relations between Iran and Sri Lanka, showcasing a commitment to mutual cooperation and development.

The Uma Oya Multipurpose Development Project (UOMDP) is a crucial initiative for Sri Lanka, aiming to redirect an annual average of 145 million cubic meters (MCM) of excess water from the Uma Oya basin to the Kirindi Oya basin. This redirection, executed with careful environmental considerations, aims to benefit agricultural, industrial, and domestic sectors in the region.

The project, which commenced with an agreement signed in 2007, faced numerous challenges during its construction phase, including technical complexities, financial hurdles, and the impact of the global Covid-19 pandemic. Despite these obstacles, the project persevered, with its completion marking a significant achievement in engineering and bilateral cooperation.

Upon completion, the Uma Oya Multipurpose Development Project will not only address water scarcity issues but also contribute to agricultural development, energy generation, and regional infrastructure enhancement. It symbolizes the unwavering commitment of both nations towards mutual progress and prosperity.

The visit of President Raisi underscores the longstanding ties between Sri Lanka and Iran, dating back centuries. It reflects the depth of their diplomatic relations and the shared vision for a future marked by cooperation and mutual growth across various sectors.

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