Rt. Hon’ble Mr. K P Sharma Oli, Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal and Chair of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), paid a visit to the SAARC Headquarters in Thamel, Kathmandu, this morning. He was accompanied by the First Lady of Nepal.
Other members of his entourage included the Hon. Minister for Foreign Affairs and Chair of the SAARC Council of Ministers; H. E. the Foreign Secretary and the Chairman of the SAARC Standing Committee; Press Adviser to the Prime Minister; and Joint Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Chairman of the SAARC Programming Committee.
In his address, the Rt. Hon. Prime Minister expressed happiness to visit the SAARC Headquarters for the first time as Prime Minister and Chair of SAARC. He also expressed pleasure to host the SAARC Secretariat and SAARC Tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS Centre. “Neighbourhood relations and regional cooperation are one of the priorities of our foreign policy. As a founding member and current Chair of SAARC, Nepal strongly believes in regional cooperation in order to promote collective well-being of the people of South Asia,” the Rt. Hon’ble Prime Minister said.
“SAARC is an expression of our regional solidarity in South Asia. It has become a common identity for the people of this region,” the Rt. Hon’ble Prime Minister said. “It represents hope of over 1.7 billion people for this region for accelerated economic growth, social progress and cultural development.” Stating that the Nineteenth SAARC Summit was long overdue, he said, “We are eagerly looking forward to hand over the Chairmanship. I hope the SAARC Member States will come up with consensus to convene the Nineteenth SAARC Summit at an early date.”
The Rt. Hon. Prime Minister appreciated the Secretary General and his team for facilitating regional cooperation within the SAARC framework and for making meticulous arrangements for receiving him at the Secretariat.
To mark his visit to the Secretariat, the Rt. Hon’ble Prime Minister planted a Rudraksya (UTRASUM BEAD TREE) sapling in its premises. After planting the sapling, he said, “May the Rudrakshya sapling that I planted here at the Secretariat grow to inspire the Governments of South Asia to strengthen the SAARC process for delivering peace, development, prosperity and the greater good of the people of South Asia.”
Earlier, while welcoming the Rt. Hon. Prime Minister, the Secretary General of SAARC said, “We are greatly honoured by the Rt. Hon’ble Prime Minister’s momentous visit to the SAARC Secretariat today. I am particularly happy that this is the third such visit of a SAARC Head of State or Government during the last two years. Moreover, this is a unique and historic occasion, which brings together the distinguished Chairs of four Charter Bodies of SAARC to the Secretariat at the same time.”
The Secretary General stated that as a founding member of SAARC, Nepal had been playing a very constructive role in its evolution since inception. “The three milestone SAARC Summits hosted and several important initiatives spearheaded by Nepal have contributed enormously toward the SAARC process,” he said. He thanked the Government of Nepal for hosting the SAARC Secretariat and SAARC Tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS Centre.
The Secretary General stated that the convening of meetings of the Charter Bodies of SAARC, including the Summit, provides renewed impetus to the SAARC process. He said, “In this context, we greatly value endeavours of the Rt. Hon’ble Prime Minister and the Chair of SAARC for convening of the Nineteenth Summit in Islamabad.”
Since its establishment in Kathmandu on 16 January 1987, several SAARC Heads of State and Government have visited the Secretariat. In 2018, the former President of Sri Lanka and the former Prime Minister of Pakistan visited the SAARC Secretariat during their bilateral visits to Nepal.
SAARC Secretariat, Kathmandu