Colombo: - The newly appointed Ambassador of Turkey to Sri Lanka R. Demet Sekercioglu called on Ambassador M. Ashraf Haidari today, who warmly welcomed and congratulated her on her new assignment, today. They discussed the strong, friendly Afghanistan-Turkey ties, which they said would underpin their collaboration in Colombo.  

Visit the website of the Heart of Asia - Istanbul Process, the last ministerial meeting of which was recently hosted by the Goverment of Turkey. 
 
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Colombo: - On January 22, 2020, Ambassador M. Ashraf Haidari joined HE Chamal Rajapaksa, Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Rural Development of Sri Lanka, to attend the 11th Meeting of SAARC Food Bank Board. Afghan delegate Ghulam Hazrat Halimi of the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL) accompanied the Ambassador in the closing of the 2-day Meeting, which discussed the importance of fully operationalizing the SAARC Food Bank to ensure regional cooperation on food security as a common issue of interest and concern to all member-states.


Ambassador Haidari thanked HE Minister Rajapaksa for hosting the Meeting and highlighted the importance of enhanced bilateral cooperation in #agriculture and rural development between Afghanistan and Sri Lanka. They agreed that regular exchange of skilled farmers and agriculture experts among the SAARC member-states would help ensure food security throughout the region.

In his recent article on "Securing South Asia Through Regional Economic Integration," Ambassador Haidari discusses the critical role SAARC can play in fostering regional economic cooperation, including collaboration on food security as a common need across the region.


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Colombo: - Ambassador M. Ashraf Haidari called on HE President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on December 12, 2019, following his recent electoral victory. The Ambassador conveyed to him the congratulatory letter and warm greetings of HE President Ashraf Ghani, following which they reviewed and discussed bilateral issues of mutual interest and concern for further cooperation.

In this light, the Ambassador briefed HE President Rajapaksa on the status of Afghanistan-Sri Lanka bilateral ties, noting the importance of implementing the MOUs and agreements signed by the two countries, as well as finalizing and signing the pending and proposed MOUs and agreements that cover such areas as political consultations; defense cooperation; connectivity for trade and investment; rural development and water management; skills development; as well as tourism. The Ambassador also briefed HE President Rajapaksa on his recent provincial visits, promoting the establishment of ties between Afghanistan-Sri Lanka provinces and major cities, including a sister-city relationship between Kabul and Kandy.

HE President Rajapaksa shared with Ambassador Haidari some of his country’s war-to-peace-transition experiences for lessons to be learned for Afghanistan’s continued efforts to end the war and achieve sustainable peace. The Ambassador welcomed this, which he said HE President Ghani had also discussed with Sri Lankan Ambassador to Afghanistan Gagan Bulathsinghala, expressing Afghanistan’s interest in learning relevant lessons from Sri Lanka in peacekeeping and peacebuilding processes.

Both sides agreed on the need to further expand bilateral relations, as Ambassador Haidari requested HE President Gotabaya to consider visiting Afghanistan whenever his schedule allows this year, which the President welcomed.

Read Ambassador Haidari's article on "Afghanistan-Sri Lanka: Natural Partners in Democracy and Development."

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Colombo: - Ambassador M. Ashraf Haidari called on HE Prime Minister of Sri Lanka Mahinda Rajapaksa on December 12, 2019, following his meeting with HE President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on the same day. The Ambassador conveyed to the Prime Minister the sincere congratulations of HE President Ashraf Ghani and a congratulatory letter from his Afghan counterpart HE Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah on assuming his new position, following the recent electoral victory of HE President Rajapaksa.

HE Prime Minister Rajapaksa greatly appreciated the congratulatory messages from Afghanistan’s leadership, including a congratulatory message from HE Former President Hamid Karzai, which he said is a manifestation of the close and fast-growing Afghanistan-Sri Lanka bilateral relations. HE Prime Minister Rajapaksa and Ambassador Haidari reviewed the implementation status of the MOUs and agreements signed by the two sides so far, highlighting numerous opportunities for bilateral cooperation—covering security and defense; business and investment; institutional capacity building; cultural cooperation and deepening people-to-people ties through enhanced connectivity via sea and air.

Taking note of the fact that it was under his presidency in 2013 when Afghanistan and Sri Lanka elevated their diplomatic ties to resident level, opening Embassies in Kabul and Colombo, HE Prime Minister Rajapaksa offered his full and strong support for the implementation of all signed agreements. He was glad to know from Ambassador Haidari that both sides had worked on a number of new agreements and MOUs to be finalized by both sides for signature. In this light, Ambassador Haidari requested the Prime Minister to consider visiting Afghanistan in the New Year, which he welcomed to do so sometime after March. 

Read Ambassador Haidari's article on "Afghanistan-Sri Lanka: Natural Partners in Democracy and Development."

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Kandy: - Ambassador M. Ashraf Haidari paid a visit to Geragama Tea Factory and plantation in Kandy on December 06, 2019 to see how they process and produce tea.

Afghanistan is a major tea-drinking nation in the world, which welcomes direct export of quality tea from Sri Lanka. In his upcoming meetings with the Sri Lankan chambers of commerce and major tea exporters, the Ambassador will continue exploring export opportunities. He has encouraged Afghan businesses to visit Sri Lanka and consider entering into joint ventures with Sri Lankan exporters to bring the country's quality tea to Afghanistan.

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Colombo: - Ambassador M. Ashraf Haidari joined HE Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, SAARC diplomats, and business leaders to deliver remarks at the 35th SAARC Charter Day commemoration hosted by SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry on December 11, 2019.

They reflected on the vision of the founders of SAARC when they established this much needed regional grouping to cooperate in good faith for the common peace, prosperity, and welfare of the entire region with 24% (1.8 billion) population of the whole world. Ambassador Haidari highlighted the key obstacles that continue preventing South Asia from realizing its many potentials that must be harnessed for the sustainable development of the whole region.

In this light, the Heart of Asia - Istanbul Process as an Afghan-led initiative encourages regional cooperation against confrontation, which Ambassador Haidari discusses in his recent article on "Securing South Asia Through Regional Economic Integration."

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Colombo: - Ambassador M. Ashraf Haidari addressed an event hosted by the SAARC Women's Association to celebrate the SAARC Charter Day on December 11, 2019. "Women constitute the better half of this region's over 1.8 billion population, without whose empowerment and full participation in the polity, economy, and society, it's hard to imagine how South Asia could ever achieve sustainable peace and socioeconomic development," said Ambassador Haidari.

Hence, he encouraged women leaders to actively shape and formulate domestic, defense and foreign policies to address the common needs of women, girls and children across South Asia, one of the world's richest and yet least connected and developed regions.

Ambassador Haidari welcomed the recent launching of the SAARC Women's Association Kabul Chapter and pledged to fully support its activities to help empower women in Afghanistan. 

Read Ambassador Haidari's article on "Institutionalizing Women's Rights for Afghanistan's Future," which's equally relevant to the rest of South Asia, which he discussed.

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Colombo: - On December 09, 2019, Ambassador M. Ashraf Haidari called on his Japanese counterpart Ambassador Akira Sugiyama to express our utmost grief on the recent murder by terrorists of our beloved honorary citizen and a dedicated humanitarian, Dr. Tetsu Nakamura, who'll always be missed by Afghans and remembered in the history of Afghanistgan-Japan friendship.

The Ambassador shared with Ambassador Sugiyama the outpouring of grief across Afghanistan over the tragedy -- one that illustrates the widespread human suffering caused by the imposed terror campaign. We remain grateful for Japan's enduring support and partnership.

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Kandy: - Ambassador M. Ashraf Haidari called on the Honorable Mayor of Kandy Kesara Senanayake on December 07, 2019, as part of his official visit to Central Province. Among other things, they discussed and agreed to work on establishing a sister-city relationship between Kabul and Kandy, further deepening Afghanistan-Sri Lanka ties.

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Kandy: - On December 06, 2019, Ambassador M. Ashraf Haidari called on the Honorable Pradeep Nilanga Dela, the Chief Lay Custodian of the Temple of the Tooth Relic in Kandy. The Ambassador was given a special tour of the Temple, after which they exchanged views on cultural cooperation and ways to enhance people-to-people ties between Afghanistan and Sri Lanka.

Ambassador Haidari invited the Honorable Dela to consider visiting Afghanistan, including a pilgrimage trip to the statues of Buddha in Bamiyan, which he welcomed.

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