Following the productive meeting last September, Ambassador M. Ashraf Haidari approached Tharaka Balasuriya, the Sri Lankan Minister of State for Regional Cooperation to talk about the progression and developments in the last quarter, in terms of the growing bilateral relations between the two countries.

Ambassador Haidari mentioned the exchange of messages at the highest level to celebrate the 62nd Anniversary of the Establishment of Diplomatic Ties between the two nations as an indication of the mutual dedication to strengthening bilateral ties. He appreciated Sri Lanka’s support of the peace process in Afghanistan so that an era of terror and danger to Afghan lives can end, as well as Sri Lanka’s firm message of condemnation against the attack on Kabul University.

Also, Ambassador Haidari underscored his facilitation of the MOU between the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC) and the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Investment (ACCI) in September, as a notable shared accomplishment. The impact of this was already apparent, with several business meetings between Sri Lankan and Afghan stakeholders already taking place. Similarly, an MOU was endorsed between two significant research organizations of Afghanistan and Sri Lanka in October. The Regional Center for Strategic Studies (RCSS) and the Afghan Institute for Strategic Studies (AISS) having signed a collaborative agreement is a sign of growing ties between the civil societies, not just the states.

The Ambassador highlighted his meetings with the Sri Lankan Minister of Education, Chairman of the University Grants Commission, and Vice-Chancellor of the KDU Defense University, all of whom were receptive to the idea of hosting Afghan students on scholarships. In addition, the Sri Lankan Minister of Youth and Sports is planning to visit Kabul and is supportive of strengthening ties between the Sri Lankan and Afghan cricket team.

Ambassador Haidari and Minister Balasuriya discussed the existing agreements as well as pending ones, which will, in the Ambassador’s words, “… help to connect the Heart of Asia with the Jewel of the Indian Ocean towards an ever-growing multi-faceted friendship and partnership.”

Before the meeting concluded, the importance of facilitating legal assistance cooperation between the two states, and an Agreement on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons were discussed. The Sri Lankan Minister of Justice had expressed his favor for such an agreement to Ambassador Haidari in their last meeting, and combined with this visit, it can be expected that the agreement will soon be signed.

Afghanistan and Sri Lanka’s relationship has long sustained a win-win dynamic, and both officials expressed the states’ commitment to sustaining that. The Afghanistan-Sri Lanka Friendship Plaque was presented by the Ambassador to  Minister Balasuriya, thus ending the visit on a warm note.

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