SAARC Diary: Sri Lanka – Afghanistan Sign MoU to Establish Political Consultations Mechanism

NEW DELHI, Apr 7: Sri Lanka and Afghanistan, the two South Asian Countries, on Wednesday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for establishing a Political Consultations Mechanism.

The MoU was signed by Dinesh Gunawardena, Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister and Ashraf Haidari, Afghanistan’s Ambassador in Colombo and was attended by Tharaka Balasuriya, State Minister for Regional Cooperation, Foreign Secretary Admiral Prof Jayanath Colombage, and officials of the Afghan Embassy in Colombo and the Foreign Ministry.

The Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry in a press statement said, the two countries are confident that the bilateral partnership will grow further through active facilitation by both Foreign Ministries, allowing for yearly review of the entire gamut of bilateral relations and  would cover areas such as political, economic, security, culture, health, social, people – to –people contacts, and other areas of common interest including regional cooperation. Bilateral trade includes areas such as tea, gem and jewellery, dry fruits, nuts, and cereal, as well as the fact that direct air connectivity will enable both countries to have closer cooperation in tourism, cultural, and social engagements.

With the signing of MoU with Afghanistan, Sri Lanka completed establishment of bilateral instruments of Political Consultations or Foreign Office Consultations with all South Asian countries. Signing of the MoU was a significant bilateral instrument in the two countries’ 63 years of formal diplomatic ties. The two parties agreed to hold the first session of the Political Consultations at a mutually convenient time in the near future. In addition, the statement also added, close cooperation in economic and trade matters, as well as connectivity with neighbours and SAARC members, remains Sri Lanka’s foremost Economic Diplomacy priority.

(Venkatesh Iyer)



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