Colombo: - Ambassador M. Ashraf Haidari delivered opening remarks at the 9th SAARC Film Festival on July 3, 2019, and watched together with a huge enthusiastic international audience Afghanistan's first top nominated film: A Letter to the President by Roya Sadat, in which Leen Aalam acts impressively. 

The Ambassador thanks the Afghan Film Director-General SSahraa Karimi for supporting his efforts throughout this weeklong Festival, showing the world that despite the many challenges confronting our beautiful homeland, Afghan artists--much like our athletes--continue making us proud. 

Members of the Jury from Bosnia, Iran, and Philippines were captivated by A Letter to the President, praising the hardwork making it such moving, touching film. Ambassador Haidari is thankful to all Sri Lankans, who watched the film with great interest and came up one by one to express their appreciation of the film, applauding its director and cast.

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New Delhi: - Ambassador M. Ashraf Haidari met with Ambassador Sujan Chinoy, Director-General of India's eminent think-tank, the Institute for Defense Studies & Analyses (IDSA) on July 1, 2019. 

Having served in Delhi remains one of the highlights of the Ambassador's Foreign Service career, as he worked to implement the key objectives of the Afghanistan-India Strategic Partnership Agreement, advancing our shared goal of a stable, peaceful Afghanistan that enables South Asia and Central Asia to connect for trade, investment and multifaceted people-to-people ties. 

In this regard, they noted efforts by President Ashraf Ghani, who's provided the region with a pragmatic blueprint for cooperation against confrontation. In this spirit, India's shared its own bread, providing critical aid for Afghanistan's sustainable development. Afghans remain proud of their friendship with India and grateful to the latter's continued support.

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New Delhi: - Ambassador M. Ashraf Haidari spoke at the Indian Institute for Defense Studies & Analyses (IDSA-India) on July 1, 2019. He first discussed Afghanistans' vision of sustainable peace to be achieved through sincere regional security and development cooperation. 

In this regard, however, he noted that despite frequent statements of support from the region on a consensus that achieving peace through consolidation of Afghanistan's 18-year gains would help ensure regional stability, results-driven, tangible cooperation from certain regional state actors with direct influence on and ties with the Taliban remained elusive. He discussed the key points of the Consultative #Peace Loya Jirga declaration, which underpins the Government's strong mandate to pursue a sustainable political settlement that would end the imposed conflict.

Appreciating India's continued support for the sustainable stabilization and development of Afghanistan, Ambassador Haidari noted that the connectivity interests of India, China, Russia and Iran have converged, which should encourage them to work together for helping stabilize Afghanistan through bilateral efforts, as well as such multilateral mechanisms as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), whose key concerns remain the intertwined threats of terrorism and drug production/trafficking in the region. 

Ambassador Haidari highlighted the vision of President Ashraf Ghani for achieving region-wide peace and prosperity through regional cooperation against zero-sum confrontation, which would ultimately benefit no country in the region, knowing from the pre-war experiences of Europe in the 20th & 19th centuries. 

In this regard, the Ambassador referred to the recent address by President Ghani at the Institute for Strategic Studies of Islamabad where he spoke candidly about the pragmatic, win-win ways of bilateral, sovereign relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Watch the President's full address: https://t.co/qJ5ckTFq1d

Ambassador Haidari ended his talk by taking questions from IDSA scholars on their issues of research interest and expertise, including the transnational challenges of terrorism, extremism and criminality and the ways, in which they undermine regional stability and international peace.

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Colombo: - Ambassador M. Ashraf Haidari joined his counterparts from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to meet with the Honorable Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe Sirisena on June 27, 2019. Reaffirming Afghanistan's commitment to non-interference, the Ambassador shared with the President the collective concern of the OIC Ambassadors about the stigmatization, marginalization, as well as targeting of the Sri Lankan Muslim community, following April 21 terrorist attacks.

Ambassador Haidari stressed the importance of maintaining the positive, tolerant image, which Sri Lanka enjoys in the international community against hate speech, the spread of fear among and mis- and dis-information about the Muslim community, who shouldn't be subjected to such suffering due to the act of a few brainwashed extremists, which Afghanistan along with the rest of the OIC member-states has strongly condemned.

Ambassador Haidari noted that the sooner issues of internal unrest are addressed, the earlier the efforts of Sri Lanka to revitalize its tourism industry would deliver tangible results, attracting tourists from Afghanistan and other countries in the region and beyond.

The Prime Minister took note of the concerns raised and assured the OIC Ambassadors of addressing the problems facing the Muslim community in the best interests of Sri Lanka itself. He pointed out the strong ties between Sri Lanka and the member-states of the OIC, and encouraged them to remove any travel advisories in place to help revitalize the tourism industry in Sri Lanka.
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Colombo: - Ambassador M. Ashraf Haidari joined his counterparts from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to meet with H.E. President Maithripala Sirisena on June 26, 2019. Reaffirming Afghanistan's commitment to non-interference, the Ambassador shared with the President the collective concern of the OIC Ambassadors about the stigmatization, marginalization, as well as targeting of the Sri Lankan Muslim community, following April 21 terrorist attacks.

Ambassador Haidari stressed the importance of maintaining the positive, tolerant image, which Sri Lanka enjoys in the international community against hate speech, the spread of fear among and mis- and dis-information about the Muslim community, who shouldn't be subjected to such suffering due to the act of a few brainwashed extremists, which Afghanistan along with the rest of the OIC member-states has strongly condemned.

Ambassador Haidari noted that the sooner issues of internal unrest are addressed, the earlier the efforts of Sri Lanka to revitalize its tourism industry would deliver tangible results, attracting tourists from Afghanistan and other countries in the region and beyond.

The President took note of the concerns raised and assured the OIC Ambassadors of addressing the problems facing the Muslim community in the best interests of Sri Lanka itself. He pointed out the strong ties between Sri Lanka and the member-states of the OIC, and encouraged them to remove any travel advisories in place to help revitalize the tourism industry in Sri Lanka.
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Colombo: - The Honorable Namal Rajapaksa, a dynamic Member of the Sri Lankan Parliament, called on Ambassador M. Ashraf Haidari at the Embassy residence on June 25, 2019. They discussed a range of issues of mutual interest and concern, including the status of our growing bilateral relations. They also exchanged notes on the security situation in our two beautiful countries. 

Ambassador Haidari admires the Hon. Rajapaksa's leadership in support of youth, engaging with impoverished villages in his constituency and promoting inter-faith solidarity against intolerance. They took note of pluralism and diversity as the core strengths of multiethnic nations like Afghanistan and Sri Lanka and that internal unity always serves as the best defense against external interference in contexts like those of the two nations. 

The Hon. Rajapaksa expressed an interest in visiting Afghanistan where the Ambassador warmly welcomed him whenever he alone or together with the Honorable Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa is able to visit. 

Afghanistan and Sri Lanka share ancient civilizational ties, which underpin our growing relations today.

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Kabul: - Ambassador M. Ashraf Haidari called on Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani for a working meeting to brief him on expanding bilateral relations with the friendly Government and people of Sri Lanka on June 21, 2019.  The Foreign Minister welcomed the formation of the Afghanistan-Sri Lanka Parliamentary Friendship Association as another step forward in further building people-to-people ties between our two nations. 

The Foreign Minister also appreciated the protection assistance, which the Government of Sri Lanka has provided to Afghan refugees against communal violence. He wished Sri Lanka and all Sri Lankans a speedy recovery from the April 21 terrorist attacks, which President Ashraf Ghani, Chief Executive Abdullah and the Foreign Minister strongly condemned and offered our full solidarity with Sri Lanka. 

Moreover, Foreign Minister Rabbani welcomed bilateral efforts to initiate economic and defense cooperation between Afghanistan and Sri Lanka, as we look forward to signing MOUs in these key sectors in the near future.
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Kabul: - Ambassador M. Ashraf Haidari is thankful to the ArtLords, directed by a devoted artist, Mr. Omaid Sharifi, for inviting him to visit their offices in Kabul on June 22, 2019 to view the many invaluable artworks of Afghanistan's young and inspiring artists, who daily defy acts of imposed violence by keeping the Afghan art and culture--which constitute any society's soul--glowing.

Their countless contributions include murals throughout Kabul and soon #Afghanistan, depicting the resilience and enterprising genius of our youthful population, yearning for peace, for a normal life. Please visit and generously support the hard efforts of our young artists at the ArtLords. 

Ambassador Haidari looks forward to working with Mr. Sharifi on facilitating their regular interaction with their Sri Lankan counterparts, who are equally passionate about their artistic works.

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Kabul: - Serving the Afghan refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) population tops the priorities of Ambassador M. Ashraf Haidari, who had a productive meeting with Deputy Minister of Refugees and Repatriation Dr. Alema on June 22, 2019. The Ambassador briefed her on the status of Afghan refugees in Sri Lanka. 

The Deputy Minister thanked the Government of Sri Lanka for protecting Afghan refugees against the recent acts of communal violence. They also discussed the importance of learning from Sri Lanka's ongoing work on reintegration of former internally displaced persons. 

The Deputy Minister expressed an interest in visiting Sri Lanka and meeting her counterpart to discuss and learn from Sri Lanka's experience in planning for and addressing the reintegration needs of its IDPs population.

Read Ambassador Haidari's article on "The Plight of Afghan Refugees:" 
https://thediplomat.com/2016/01/the-saga-of-afghan-refugees/

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Kabul: - Ambassador M. Ashraf Haidari met and had an in-depth discussion on business and investment with the leadership of the award-winning Afghan Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry on June 19, 2019. He was impressed by the dedicated female entrepreneurs with a passion to help Afghanistan achieve self-reliance through starting sustainable businesses that contribute to the development of a productive economy. 

Led by Manizha Wafeq, a shrewd business leader, AWCCI is enabling Afghan businesswomen to find markets for investment. In this light, Ambassador Haidari discussed with them business opportunities in Sri Lanka, including in the areas of tourism, medical tourism, education tourism, services, capacity-building, agribusiness, precious and semi-precious stones, and tea, among others. 

They agreed that an exchange of trade delegations would help both sides learn about business and investment opportunities in Afghanistan and SriLanka. The Ambassador informed AWCCI of the mutual commitment on the parts of Afghan and Sri Lankan Ministers of Commerce and Industry Ajmal Ahmady and Rishad Bathiudeen to further building and deepening bilateral trade ties, including signing a Free Trade Agreement. The Ambassador also noted that Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani is firmly committed to empowering Afghan women and encouraged AWCCI to meet the Minister soon, which they warmly welcomed. 

Our entire team at the Afghan Embassy in Colombo remains at the service of AWCCI. 

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