Afghanistan, Singapore reaffirm friendly relations

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani witnessing the signing of the MOU by Mrs Josephine Teo, Senior Minister of State, Prime Minister's Office, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Transport; and Afghan Min
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani witnessing the signing of the MOU by Mrs Josephine Teo, Senior Minister of State, Prime Minister's Office, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Transport; and Afghan Minister of Economy Abdul Sattar Murad.PHOTO: MCI

MOU on technical cooperation signed as leaders discuss further collaboration

Afghanistan and Singapore yesterday signed an agreement under which Kabul will send senior officials to Singapore to attend customised programmes on public administration, civil service development, vocational training, urban planning and sustainable development.

Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, who is in Singapore on his first official visit, witnessed the signing of the memorandum of understanding (MOU) on technical cooperation together with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Mr Ghani's visit is also the first official visit by an Afghan president to Singapore.

At the Istana, he called on President Tony Tan Keng Yam.

The two presidents reaffirmed the friendly relations between both countries, and agreed that there was scope to enhance cooperation and exchanges in areas of mutual interest, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a statement.

Later, Mr Lee and Mr Ghani 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.

Afghanistan has sent 700 officials to Singapore for training in areas such as public administration and governance, under the Singapore Cooperation Programme that started in 1992.

Dr Tan and Mr Lee said Singapore will share its development experience with Afghanistan, and will also support the Central Asian country's development through the programme.

Mr Ghani was hosted to lunch by Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security Teo Chee Hean.

They discussed developments in their respective regions, and explored potential areas of bilateral and security cooperation.

Mr Ghani wrapped up his visit at a National University of Singapore Society dialogue, during which he acknowledged the challenges of terrorism, corruption and criminal networks in Afghanistan, but said the resource-rich country held many business opportunities.

He highlighted the areas of energy, mineral mining and water management as some examples.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 08, 2017, with the headline 'Afghanistan, Singapore reaffirm friendly relations'. Print Edition | Subscribe