The call by the Foreign minister Rohitha
Bogollagama on President Hamid Karzai of
Afghanistan in Kabul on 24th June, had as
its outcome a clear meeting of minds on the
need for SAARC to resolutely address the
contemporary challenges facing the South
Asian region. Towards this end the energy
crisis, the rising food prices and the
suppression of terrorism were identified as
requiring a special focus during the
forthcoming SAARC Summit in Colombo.
Minister Bogollagama’s visit to Kabul was in
the context of his current tour of the SAARC
nations to formally invite the regional
leaders on behalf of President Mahinda
Rajapaksa, to the Colombo Summit.
The Foreign Minister while exchanging views
with President Karzai and Foreign Minister
Rangin Dadfar Spanta on SAARC issues, also
addressed the further strengthening of
bilateral relations with Afghanistan.
Minister Bogollagama’s view that the
establishment of an effective sectoral
delivery mechanism would significantly
enhance the present levels of economic and
commercial cooperation in the region, was
endorsed. On the bilateral plane, it was
resolved that better commercial links
through the engagement of the respective
trade chambers, would be facilitated.
Collaboration in the fields of cultural
relations and educational cooperation would
also be stepped up.
Minister Bogollagama briefed his
interlocutors on Sri Lanka’s endeavors to
combat the terror of the LTTE and the
positive developments in the Eastern
Province of Sri Lanka. He heard of
Afghanistan’s own successes against
terrorism, including through the
strengthening of the capacities of the
Afghan Armed Forces. Nevertheless, the
discussion also revealed that the terrorism
practiced against the people of Afghanistan
has now taken a particularly sinister twist,
due to the LTTE technique of suicide
bombers, being applied through the
recruitment of children for this purpose.
Given the threat faced by the two societies,
the utility of providing Police training by
Sri Lanka to Afghanistan complemented by
bilateral collaboration in intelligence
sharing, was identified.