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Iranian president set to start Pakistan, Sri Lanka tour

Iranian President Ebrahim Raeisi

Iranian President Ebrahim Raeisi is scheduled to visit Pakistan and Sri Lanka on a key official tour.

Heading a high-ranking politico-economic delegation, Raeisi will leave Tehran for Islamabad on Monday.

During his two-day stay in Pakistan on Monday and Tuesday, Raeisi and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif will hold a private meeting and then attend a joint session of the two country's high-ranking delegations.

The Iranian president will also sit down with his Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari. He will travel to cities and meet with ulema (scholars), elites, tradesmen and economic actors.

In a statement, Pakistan’s foreign office said the two countries' authorities will discuss "regional and global developments and bilateral cooperation to combat the common threat of terrorism."

It noted that the Iranian president will visit major Pakistani cities including Lahore and Karachi and focus on bilateral and trade ties.

The two neighboring countries witnessed an escalation of cross-border tensions over Iran's counter-terrorism operations.

On January 16, Iran launched simultaneous drone and missile attacks on two bases of Jaish ul-Adl, a terror outfit that was formed in 2012 and has conducted several attacks on Iranian soil in recent years.

The group claimed responsibility for an attack in December 2023 on a police station in the southeastern city of Rask that killed at least 11 Iranian police officers.

On January 10, another attack by the group on a police station in the city killed one officer.

Pakistan carried out strikes on January 17 against what it claimed were bases of the separatist Baloch Liberation Front and Baloch Liberation Army in regions close to Iran’s border which Tehran slammed as unbalanced.

The two countries fully restored ties in the next weeks as ambassadors resumed duties in late January.

On the second leg of his tour, Raeisi will pay an official day-long visit to Colombo on Wednesday at the invitation of Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe.

The two presidents plan to hold a private meeting and attend the inaugural ceremony of a multipurpose development project, named Uma Oya, consisted of two dams and a power plant with 120MW hydropower generation capacity.

The project, which has been designed and manufactured by Iranian experts, valued at 529 million dollars, was originally scheduled to be completed in 2015, but was suspended several times due to sanctions on Iran and several other issues.

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