(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –H.E. Mr. AmjadHussian B. Sial, Secretary General of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), called on Hon. Mr. Pradeep Kumar Gyawali, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Nepal this morning.
While felicitating the Minister on his assumption of the Office of the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Nepal, the Secretary General expressed his good wishes for success in the important position in the Government. He also briefed the Foreign Minister on the status of ongoing activities of the SAARC process, including four ministerial meetings that have been held in a year and the forthcoming meeting of the Finance Ministers.
The Minister expressed confidence that with his long diplomatic experience, active role being played by the Secretary General would be instrumental in carrying forward the SAARC process. He also assured him of full cooperation of the Government of Nepal in discharging his responsibilities as the Secretary General of SAARC as well as for effective functioning of the SAARC Secretariat.
The Minister stated that SAARC should be instrumental in economic integration of South Asia through meaningful connectivity and trade among the Member States of SAARC. The Minister also stressed the need for strengthening the SAARC process in order to make it more efficient and capable in dealing with common problems and challenges being faced by South Asian people. He particularly underlined the need for poverty alleviation through concerted efforts under the auspices of SAARC as one fourth of the humanity lives in the region. While expressing Nepal’s commitment to the SAARC process, the Minister underscored the need for early convening of the Nineteenth SAARC Summit. In this regard, the Minister highlighted the efforts being made by Nepal as the current Chair of SAARC to create conducive environment for early convening of the SAARC Summit and other meetings by consulting other Member States.
The Secretary General commended continued support given by the Government of Nepal to the Secretariat. He also expressed the hope that the Minister as the Chair of the SAARC Council of Ministers would provide continuous help and guidance to the Secretariat for its effective functioning. The Secretary General also underscored the importance of regular holding of the SAARC Summits and other meetings of the SAARC mechanisms in order to create renewed momentum inregional cooperation. He also briefed the Minister on recent reforms introduced at the Secretariat to make it more efficient and responsive to the Member Statesand for enhancing the visibility of the SAARC process and upgradation of IT infrastructure.