Singapore, Afghanistan reaffirm friendly relations

Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani with President Tony Tan Keng Yam at the Istana.
Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani with President Tony Tan Keng Yam at the Istana.PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani called on President Tony Tan Keng Yam at the Istana on Friday (April 7), during his first official visit to Singapore.

At the meeting, the two presidents reaffirmed the friendly relations between Afghanistan and Singapore, and agreed that there was scope to enhance bilateral cooperation and exchanges in areas of mutual interest, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a statement.

Mr Ghani, whose visit is the first official one to Singapore by an Afghan president, also met with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Istana.

They discussed opportunities for collaboration in areas such as public service training, and anti-corruption measures.

They also spoke about national and regional developments, and expressed support for the international community's efforts in the reconstruction of Afghanistan.

After the meeting, Mr Lee and Mr Ghani witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding on technical cooperation.

Under the agreement, Afghanistan will send senior officials to Singapore to attend customised programmes on topics such as public administration, civil service development, vocational training, urban planning and sustainable development.

Dr Tan and Mr Lee said Singapore was willing to share its development experience with Afghanistan, and will support Afghanistan's development through the Singapore Cooperation Programme.

Since the start of the programme in 1992, almost 700 Afghan officials have attended programmes in areas such as public administration and governance.

On Friday, Mr Ghani and his delegation were also hosted to lunch by Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security Teo Chee Hean.

Over lunch, Mr Teo and Mr Ghani discussed developments in their respective regions, and explored potential areas of bilateral and security cooperation between Singapore and Afghanistan.

During his trip, Mr Ghani also visited the HDB, where he was given a briefing on Singapore's public housing policy and development.

He wrapped up the day at the National University of Singapore Society Dialogue 2017, where he spoke about trade and investment opportunities in Afghanistan in a speech "Afghanistan - New Era, New Opportunities".

He leaves Singapore on Friday night.