1 February 2012Experts from the United Nations atomic energy watchdog have wrapped up their visit to Iran, saying they will continue to hold discussions later this month over concerns about the country’s nuclear programme. The experts, from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), met with Iranian officials in the country’s capital, Tehran, from Sunday to Tuesday in an effort to resolve outstanding substantive issues. Another meeting will now be held in Tehran on 21-22 February, according to an IAEA statement.The IAEA delegation also discussed with Iranian officials the initial steps that need to be taken by the country.“The agency is committed to intensifying dialogue. It remains essential to make progress on substantive issues,” said Yukiya Amano, the IAEA Director General.The statement noted that the experts had explained their concerns and identified priorities, which focus on the clarification of possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear programme.Iran has repeatedly stated that its nuclear programme is for the peaceful purpose of providing energy, but some countries contend it is seeking to develop nuclear weapons. The Security Council has imposed four rounds of sanctions against Iran, citing the proliferation risks of its nuclear programme and its continued failure to cooperate with the IAEA.
Samaraweera said that Yun’s visit is historic and timely as he is the first South Korean top diplomat to visit Sri Lanka in 31 years. He announced that his Government will hand over a sum of 200,000 dollars to Sri Lanka as humanitarian aid for Sri Lanka’s ongoing drought situation. (Colombo Gazette) He expressed his Government’s deep appreciation at the announcement by the Republic of Korea to increase its economic cooperation with Sri Lanka from 300 million dollars to 500 million dollars within the next three years.“I appreciate the financial assistance given to us by the Republic of Korea,” Samaraweera said. South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se said that his country will expand economic cooperation with Sri Lanka from 300 million dollars to 500 million dollars over the next three years, the Xinhua news agency reported.Yun, who arrived in Sri Lanka earlier in the day, held bilateral discussions with his Sri Lankan counterpart Mangala Samaraweera during which both sides agreed to further strengthen ties in several areas. “I am confident that the visit by the minister will further enhance the relations between our two countries and pave the way for stronger ties in all spheres of cooperation,” he added.For his part, Yun said the South Korean Government has agreed to facilitate Korean companies to engage ininfrastructure projects in Sri Lanka so that it would help Sri Lanka’s national rebuilding efforts.Yun said the two countries were planning to hold commemorative events to mark the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations this year and facilitate the exchange of high-level visits. While addressing the media after the meeting, Samaraweera said that the Governments of the Republic of Korea and Sri Lanka have agreed to further strengthen ties in trade and investment.