Sri Lanka-Afghan relations strengthened in past two years – Afghan Envoy | Daily News

Sri Lanka-Afghan relations strengthened in past two years – Afghan Envoy

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in discussion with Afghanistan Ambassador M. Ashraf Haidari.
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in discussion with Afghanistan Ambassador M. Ashraf Haidari.

Afghanistan Ambassador M. Ashraf Haidari, who met President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Monday said that signing 10 MoUs and Agreements between his country and Sri Lanka during the past two years bears testimony to the strong and friendly relations between the two countries.

The envoy signed an accord with Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena on Political Consultations MoU between the two Foreign Affairs Ministries.

He said both sides agreed that win-win cooperation in defence, connectivity, mutual legal assistance, and people-to-people ties would deepen Afghanistan-Sri Lanka friendship.

Ambassador Haidari thanked the Sri Lankan Government for additional scholarship slots for the Afghan military cadets at the National Defence University (KDU) of Sri Lanka.

The Ambassador briefed the President on the recent developments in Afghanistan with implications for regional peace and stability. They particularly discussed the announcement by the Biden Administration of its decision to draw US forces from Afghanistan by early September.

The Ambassador told the President that the “new chapter” in the US- Afghanistan relations entailed continued security and military, economic development and humanitarian partnerships on the two countries’ mutual commitments under the US-Afghanistan Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) and the Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA). He underscored the importance of effectively managing all dimensions of the withdrawal process, so it is not misperceived as a victory by the Taliban and other regional and transnational terrorist networks. “This should be a cause for concern for the whole region where emboldened by such a misperception, terrorists could foremost threaten stability in our wider neighborhood, as well as international peace and security,” the Ambassador said.

President Rajapaksa reaffirmed the support of Sri Lanka for the principled peace efforts of President Ghani and called for an end to the 42-year suffering of the Afghan people. Ambassador Haidari recalled the recent condemnation by Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena of the terrorist attacks that daily take innocent lives in Afghanistan and greatly appreciated Sri Lanka’s firm stance against all forms of extremism and terrorism with no distinction. He also extended to the President the gratitude of the Afghan people and government for the recent statement of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress, which strongly rejected the use of terrorism and violence against civilians in the name of any religion, especially Islam, a faith of peace, tolerance, and co-existence.

Ambassador Haidari sought the continued support of Sri Lanka in multilateral forums, including for Afghanistan’s candidate for the Presidency of the 76th session of the UN General Assembly 2021-2022. He highlighted the superior qualifications of Afghan candidate Dr. Zalmai Rassoul, former Foreign Minister and National Security Adviser of Afghanistan, as well as his contributions to the Afghanistan-Sri Lanka bilateral ties during his ensure as Afghan Foreign Minister.