Afghanistan and Sri Lanka Seek to Establish Sister-Province Ties to Bolster Bilateral Trade and Sub-National Cooperation
Colombo: - Following up on their last month’s productive meeting, the Marshal of the Sri Lankan Air Force Roshan Goonetileke, Governor of the Western Province, hosted Ambassador M. Ashraf Haidari and Sri Lanka’s Ambassador-Designate to Afghanistan Piyal De Silva at his offices on October 6, 2020. The Governor pointed out the importance of initiating a sister-province relationship between the Western Province and the Province of Kabul, which he said enjoys the strong support of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.
In an early tweet, Ambassador Haidari said: “The Western Province and Kabul Province, housing our two nations’ capitals, have much in common interest. This allows for establishing a strong sister-province relationship between the two, enabling the respective Governors and Mayors of the two provinces to collaborate on a range of such issues as trade and investment; urban and rural development; exchange of environmental and municipal best practices; and people-to-people and cultural relations, among others.”
Moreover, they discussed numerous business and investment opportunities in Afghanistan and Sri Lanka, following the recent signing of a cooperation MOU between the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Investment and the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce. Ambassador-Designate De Silva and Ambassador Haidari pledged to work together, promoting and facilitating bilateral trade and investment. “Afghan carpets, rugs, dried nuts, fresh-fruits, gemstones, unskilled labor, and demand for tourism, medical tourism, and higher education tourism are immediate areas open for highly profitable trade and investment,” commented Ambassador Haidari.
They also underscored the importance of enhancing air and sea connectivity between Afghanistan and Sri Lanka, pointing out the use of Chabahar and Karachi Ports for shipment of goods, as well as utilizing Afghanistan’s air corridors to facilitate bilateral trade. Recalling Sri Lanka’s war years and its economic recovery later, they called for sincere regional cooperation to help the Afghan peace process achieve its end-state of a political settlement that preserves the hard-earned gains of the Afghan people, ensuring stability at home and security in its wider neighborhood.