Afghanistan crisis: Lanka receives an assurance from Pakistan

Pakistan has assured Foreign Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris of Taliban’s pledge to ensure safety and security of foreign nationals in Afghanistan. This was conveyed by Pakistan High Commissioner in Colombo Major General (retd.) Muhammad Saad Khattak recently when he called on Prof. Peiris at the Foreign Ministry.

Having congratulated Foreign Minister Peiris on his new appointment, Maj. Gen. Khattak has briefed him on the situation in Afghanistan. The Pakistani envoy, according to a statement issued by the FM has emphasised that the Taliban assured the safety of foreign nationals in Afghanistan and also made a pledge that rights of women and children would be protected. The High Commissioner also said Pakistan hoped that Afghanistan would soon establish a peaceful government structure and integrate with the rest of the world.

Foreign Minister Peiris informed High Commissioner Khattak that Sri Lanka was closely monitoring the developments in Afghanistan and making arrangements in coordination with other friendly nations and international organizations to evacuate Sri Lankans from that country.

Minister Peiris also sought assistance from the Government of Pakistan to evacuate Sri Lankan nationals from Afghanistan, to which High Commissioner Khattak responded by assuring that the fullest support would be extended by his government in that context.

Foreign Minister Peiris and the Pakistan High Commissioner Khattak also discussed scope for enhancing trade and investment opportunities between both countries under the bilateral Free Trade Agreement as well as through joint initiatives aimed at promotion of investments.

The Foreign Minister appreciated the training opportunities provided by the Pakistan government for the Sri Lanka defence forces and scholarships for Sri Lankan students for their higher studies, and stressed that those opportunities and cooperation in defence matters should be further increased in the coming years.

They also explored a wide range of areas of mutual interest in which the existing longstanding ties between the two countries could be diversified into new projects advancing joint collaboration. Foreign Secretary Prof. Jayanath Colombage was present at the meeting.

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