Colombo: - Ambassador M. Ashraf Haidari met with the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Secretary-General Amjad Hussain B. Sial, on the sidelines of the 9th SAARC Film Festival, which's screened four Afghan films alongside those of other SAARC member-states on July 6, 2019.
Ambassador Haidari appreciated the attention the Secretary-General has paid to cultural cooperation, helping bring together the nations of South Asia with a shared civilization and many bonds of friendship and kinship rooted in millennia of common history. The Ambassador highlighted that increased people-to-people ties should help deescalate bilateral tensions, which have so far prevented SAARC from realizing the full potential of its vision and mandate as an effective regional grouping on a par with the ASEAN and others.
The Secretary-General agreed, alluding to poverty across the SAARC region, which the member-states must work together to address. Ambassador Haidari recalled the recent talk by President Ashraf Ghani at an Islamabad think-tank where he called for regional cooperation through increased connectivity for economic and cultural cooperation against confrontation.