Kabul: - Ambassador M. Ashraf Haidari met his counterpart Sri Lanka Ambassador to Afghanistan Gagan Bulathsinghala on June 21, 2019. They discussed many issues of mutual interest, as they work together to further expand and deepen Afghanistan-Sri Lanka relations.

They agreed that all pending bilateral initiatives should be finalized, allowing for more people-to-people exchanges in the areas of business and investment, tourism, medical tourism, higher education, as well as culture. Ambassador Haidari encourages Afghans and Sri Lankans to visit each other's beautiful, picturesque countries, which we at the Afghan Embassy in Colombo stand ready to facilitate. 

Please visit our website at www.colombo.mfa.af and follow/like our social media pages to stay updated on our expanding bilateral relations, as well as letting us know your comments and questions on how we can do more.

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Kabul: Ambassador M. Ashraf Haidari called on Minister of Economy Mustafa Mastoor on June 25, 2019, as part of his weeklong working trip to Kabul. They discussed a range of issues of economic interest to Afghanistan and SriLanka, highlighting the need for more frequent exchange of delegations in the socioeconomic development sector where Afghanistan may learn and benefit from Sri Lanka's  relevant experience and expertise. 

Minister Mastoor looks forward to the visit of Minister of Telecommunications, Foreign Employment and Sports of Sri Lanka Harin Fernando, whom he's invited for bilateral meetings. 

Achieving self-reliance through sustainable economic growth's one of the key priorities of the Afghan Government and Ambassador Haidari believes it can immensely help Afghanistan and the whole region defeat extremism and terrorism. In this regard, read one of his recent articles on "How Economic Growth Can Help Defeat Terrorism in Afghanistan" at this link:
https://t.co/uuYKRrVn28

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Kabul: - Ambassador M. Ashraf Haidari called on Minister of Industry and Commerce of Afghanistan Ajmal Ahmady on June 17, 2019, as part of his working visit to Kabul. He briefed the Minister on his meeting with the Minister's Sri Lankan counterpart Minister Rishad Bathiudeen, as well as his interactions with the Sri Lankan business community, including chambers of commerce. 

The Ambassador discussed investment opportunities in Sri Lanka, noting that bilateral trade volume remains very low. Afghan products like dried nuts, fresh fruits, as well as precious and semi-precious stones -- among other things -- have all good markets across Sri Lanka. Minister Ahmady noted that these products can easily be exported to the country via the existing air-corridor, utilizing the SpiceJet cargo flights from Afghanistan to Sri Lanka via India until a direct Kabul-Colombo flight is established. 

They also discussed the overall enabling business environment in Sri Lanka, which's fast recovering from the impact of terrorist attacks on April 21. Minister Minister Ahmady looks forward to a visit by his Sri Lankan counterpart.
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Kabul: - As part of his weeklong working visit to Kabul, Ambassador M. Ashraf Haidari met on June 17, 2019 the recently appointed, dynamic Director-General o Afghan Film Sahraa Karimi. They discussed the upcoming SAARC Film Festival, in which Afghanistan's been invited to participate.

Director-General Karimi offered to immediately prepare for Afghanistan's full participation in all three film categories to be screened by the SAARC Cultural Center in Colombo. Ambassador Haidari extended his full support for the hard efforts of the Director-General, as she's revamping and fast reforming the long neglected Afghan Film. 

The Ambassador requested that the Director-General herself consider heading the Afghan delegation, which should give her an opportunity to network with fellow filmmakers from the SAARC region.

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Colombo: - On June 14, 2019, The High Commissioner of Australia to Sri Lanka David Holly called on Ambassador M. Ashraf Haidari today. They discussed a range of issues of bilateral interest and the potential of tangible collaboration at the missions' level.

Australia is a longtime friend and strategic partner of Afghanistan, which's benefited from the country's continued security and development aid, which Ambassador Haidari greatly appreciated. 

The Ambassador also thanked the High Commissioner for Australia's strong support of UNHCR's resettlement program, through which many high-achieving Afghans have settled in Australia, calling the country their second home and making notable contributions to its polity, economy and society.

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Colombo: - On June 14, 2019, Ambassador M. Ashraf Haidari met Deputy Director of the SAARC Cultural Center Bindu Urugodawatte to discuss the SAARC Research Seminar on the Islamic Cultural Trails in Afghanistan--which will discuss the topic of "Journey Through Time and Space: Minarets and Mosques, Tombs, Trade, Tradition and Technology."

They also discussed research grant opportunities, which's already been communicated to member-states. He informed her of the recent appointment of Ms. Sahraa Karimi as the Director-General of the Afghan Film and her interest in featuring Afghan films in the upcoming SAARC Film Festival.

Moreover, Ambassador Haidari noted interest in writing an edited book chapter on the status of theater and cinema in Afghanistan and how to revive this industry. He thanked the SAARC Cultural Center for choosing Afghanistan as the host of their upcoming seminar.

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Colombo: - On June 12, 2019, Ambassador M. Ashraf Haidari along with OIC Ambassadors attended a briefing meeting chaired by the Honorable Speaker of Sri Lanka Parliament Karu Jayasuriya, who discussed the security situation in the country since Easter terrorist attacks on April 21.

Following presentations by senior security and defense officials of Sri Lanka, Ambassador Haidari commended the strong voice, with which the Honorable Speaker has condemned hate speech, which's provoked communal violence, targeting Muslims. The Ambassador noted that hate speech and alienation of ordinary people's what extremists actively seek to exploit to justify their crimes against humanity. He pointed out that Muslims continue to be the primary victims of terrorism fed by extremism, highlighting the suffering of Afghans as devout Muslims, daily being targeted by Taliban, Al Qaeda, ISIS, and others, all of which share a common ideology. 

Ambassador Haidari appreciated the protection of Afghan refugees in Sri Lanka against targeted communal violence and urged UNHCR to help resettle them out as a durable solution, since voluntary repatriation isn't possible now given the threat of #terrorism, which the brave Afghan forces have been fighting on the world's behalf.

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Colombo: - On June 12, 2019, Ambassador M. Ashraf Haidari met with the UN Director-General of Sri Lankan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ms. Shobini Gunasekera, to secure the tangible support of Sri Lanka for Afghanistan's strong candidate, Dr. Suraya Dalil, for the position of IOM Deputy Director-General. 

As a woman leader, DG Gunasekera appreciates that a woman from a country with relevant, practical experience of internal and external displacement and migration better suits the position's requirements to manage for sustainable, inclusive results with a focus on addressing the often neglected needs of migrant women, youth and children, whom Dr. Dalil has long served as a doctor, humanitarian relief worker, diplomat and minister of public health. 

Afghanistan counts on the continued support of Sri Lanka as a friendly nation and fellow member of SAARC. 

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Colombo: - Ambassador M. Ashraf Haidari met with the new Vice Chancellor of University of Colombo, Professor Chandrika Wijeyaratne, on June 11, 2019. They discussed the recently signed Cooperation MOU between Kabul University and the University of Colombo, whose of status implementation they reviewed and agreed that the two Universities should soon initiate student and faculty exchange programs, as well as joint research in their areas of mutual academic interest and concern. 

Ambassador Haidari also pointed out interest by other Afghanistan-based institutions of higher learning, like the American University of Afghanistan, to collaborate with the University of Colombo, enabling more undergraduate and graduate Afghan students to study in Sri Lanka on scholarships to be provided by public and private institutions, including the Sri Lankan and Afghan governments. 

Ambassador Haidari appreciated the support of HE President Maithripala Sirisena and HE Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe for further expanding Afghanistan-Sri Lanka bilateral relations, especially through higher education, cultural cooperation and exchange, as well as business and investment.
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Colombo: - Ambassador M. Ashraf Haidari met the Honorable Mano Ganesan, the Minister of National Integration, Official Languages, Social Progress and Hindu Religious Affairs, on June 3, 2019. They discussed the recent tragic terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka, which the Ambassador strongly condemned and condoled with the Minister. He encouraged further inter-faith solidarity against communal violence, which extremists often exploit to justify their acts. 

Moreover, they discussed Sri Lanka's ongoing peace-building experience, including conflict management and prevention before and since 2009 when the war ceased. Ambassador Haidari suggested that a senior delegation from the Afghan High Peace Council visit Colombo for a fruitful exchange of lessons to be learned from the relevant experiences of Afghanistan and Sri Lanka. 

HE Minister Ganesan welcomed the suggestion, noting their interest in hearing from the Afghan side on how Afghanistan has addressed the challenge of radicalization, which often emanates from its immediate neighborhood. The Ambassador also extended an invitation to the Minister to consider visiting Afghanistan, following the visit of the Afghan delegation to Sri Lanka, in order to further strengthen bilateral relations. 

In addition, Ambassador Haidari invited HE Minister Ganesan to join the Afghanistan-Sri Lanka Parliamentary Friendship Association, given his relevant portfolio on the key issues of national integration, peace and reconciliation, as well as reintegration of former combatants and displaced persons--among others. 

Relevant news-story:

Ambassador Haidari Calls on the Honorable Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe

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