Pokhara, March 17: Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has inaugurated the 37th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Council of Ministers’ meeting in Pokhara today.
SAARC Secretary General, Arjun Bahadur Thapa, reiterated SAARC’s commitment in binding the member states in a thread of unity at the meeting which kicked off in the backdrop of the national anthem.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Kamal Thapa, Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Foreign Minister of the Maldives Dunya Maumoon, Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera, Bangaldeshi Foreign Minister Abul Hasan Muhammad Ali, Bhutanese Foreign Minister Damajo Dorji, Afghanistan’s Deputy Foreign Minister Hikmah Khalid Karzai and Pakistani Prime Minister’s Foreign Affairs Advisor Sartaj Aziz are taking part in the meeting.
The inaugural ceremony was attended by members of Nepal’s Council of Ministers, parliamentarians and secretaries of the foreign and external affairs ministries of the eight member countries of SAARC among top government officials.
In a welcome speech, Foreign Minister Thapa – who is presiding over the 37th Council of Ministers’ meeting – called for linking the SAARC countries through water, land and air routes while underscoring the need for ushering in progressive economic programmes for expansion of trade in the region.
As incumbent chair of SAARC Chair, Nepal is organizing the meeting.
The SAARC Standing Committee meeting held on Wednesday determined a host of agendas to be presented at the Council of Ministers.
Some of the pressing issues include the implementation of past accords that were endorsed by the member states and completing the SAARC activities in stipulated timeframe.
The Standing Committee has proposed for holding the SAARC Summit biannually in the month of November.
It has also proposed to hold the 19th SAARC Summit this November in Pakistan.
The meeting will focus on current ongoing activities, climate change, environmental conservation, natural disaster, health, bio-energy, social development, technology and communications. RSS