H. E. Mr. Ahmed Saleem, Secretary-General of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) called on H. E. Mr. Arjun Bahadur Thapa, the newly appointed Foreign Secretary of Nepal at the latter’s office today.
During the call-on, the Secretary-General felicitated H. E. Mr. Thapa on his elevation to the position of Foreign Secretary with effect from 22 July 2013. Prior to this appointment, H. E. Mr. Thapa was Joint Secretary dealing with SAARC and the Spokesperson of the Foreign Ministry.
The Secretary-General also congratulated H. E. Mr. Thapa on joining the distinguished fraternity of the SAARC Standing Committee by virtue of this appointment. The Standing Committee comprises Foreign Secretaries of the eight Member States and is an important policy-making body of the Association.
During the meeting, the Secretary-General briefed the Foreign Secretary on the current status of regional cooperation. The Secretary-General sought the support of Nepal in convening the inter-Summit Session of the SAARC Council of Ministers, which has been postponed for several times as the dates announced by the Maldives, as the current Chair, were found inconvenient to one or the other Member State. He also expressed the confidence that the convening of the inter-Summit Session of the Council will also pave the way for the Eighteenth SAARC Summit to be hosted by Nepal in the near future.
Concluding his remarks, the Secretary-General thanked the Government of Nepal for hosting the SAARC Secretariat and extending all possible support and cooperation to facilitate its smooth functioning.
Welcoming the gesture of the Secretary-General, the Foreign Secretary thanked the Secretary-General for his warm sentiments on his appointment. He also thanked the Secretary-General for his exemplary leadership in guiding the affairs of SAARC and its Secretariat. He reciprocated the Secretary-General’s concerns on the need to convene early the inter-Summit Session of the Council to clear the backlog of work resulting out of its frequent postponements. As a founding member of SAARC and the host of the SAARC Secretariat, Nepal is committed to extend support not only to the Secretariat but to the SAARC process as a whole, the Foreign Secretary asserted.
Mr. Ibrahim Zuhuree, Director, SAARC Secretariat was also present at the meeting.