Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena met with the Afghanistan Ambassador in Sri Lanka Ashraf Haidari on 19 March 2021, at the Foreign Ministry for bilateral discussions.

Ambassador Haidari provided a briefing to Foreign Minister Gunawardena on the ongoing peace process in Afghanistan and conveyed his country’s aspirations for a successful outcome. While wishing Afghanistan to achieve durable peace and security, Foreign Minister Gunawardena unequivocally condemned the recent acts of terrorism in Kabul, which resulted in several civilians deaths.

The two dignitaries agreed to continue the current momentum of bilateral engagements with their strong commitment for enhanced relations. As an immediate step, Minister Gunawardena and Ambassador Haidari agreed to commence the Foreign Office Political Consultations by concluding the proposed Memorandum of Understanding next month, which the Cabinet of Ministers in Sri Lanka already endorsed. There was consensus that expeditious action would be taken in respect of the other bilateral instruments, which include an Agreement on Transfer of Sentenced Persons, an Air Services Agreement and two MoUs respectively on Diplomatic Visa Waiver and Defence Cooperation.

Both sides shared the sentiment that being close neighbours, as well as Members of the SAARC, the future potential in trade and economic cooperation must be explored through the relevant trade chambers in the two countries. Ambassador Haidari invited Sri Lanka side to explore the high potential areas for bilateral trade, including tea, gem and jewellery, dry fruits, nuts and cereals, while proposing to establish direct aviation connectivity between the two countries.

Further, Ambassador Haidari invited Minister Gunawardena to undertake an official visit to Afghanistan, including to the regions of Buddhist heritage, such as Bamiyan.

Foreign Ministry


22 March 2021