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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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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