H. E. Mr. Ahmed Saleem, Secretary-General of SAARC, visited Thimphu from 22 to 24 May 2012.
During the visit, the Secretary-General called on H. E. Lyonchhen Jigmi Y. Thinley, Prime Minister of the Royal Government of Bhutan on 24 May 2012. During the meeting, the Secretary-General apprised the Prime Minister of the progress made in the implementation of the recommendations of the Seventeenth SAARC Summit. At the meeting, the Prime Minister expressed the continued support of the Royal Government to the strengthening of the SAARC process for the common good of peoples in the region.
Earlier on 24 May, the Secretary-General called on H. E. Lyonpo Khandu Wangchuk, Minister-in-charge for Foreign Affairs. The Secretary-General apprised the Minister of the ongoing activities of the Association. The Minister and the Secretary-General also discussed the imperative need to strengthen the SAARC Secretariat so as to make it more effective and efficient.
The Secretary-General also called on H. E. Dasho Daw Penjo, Foreign Secretary of Bhutan on 24 May. The Foreign Secretary and the Secretary-General discussed matters pertaining to intra-regional trade and connectivity, with a particular focus on the implementation of the decisions of the Seventeenth Summit.
During his three-day stay in Thimphu, the Secretary-General visited the SAARC Development Fund Secretariat and held discussions with its Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Karma and his colleagues. During the meeting, the Secretary-General called upon the SDF Secretariat to expedite the process of operationalizing the Economic and Infrastructure Windows of the Fund.
While in Thimphu, the Secretary-General also paid a visit to the SAARC Forestry Centre and met its Director Mr. Sangay Wangchuk and his subordinates. During the meeting, the Director briefed the Secretary-General on the ongoing activities of the Centre.
On 23 May, the Secretary-General opened the Meeting of the National Focal Points of SAARC Member States convened to prepare the Terms of Reference for the strengthening of SAARC Mechanisms, including the Secretariat and Regional Centres.
Mr. Pema L. Dorji, Director, SAARC Secretariat, accompanied the Secretary-General to these meetings and visits in Thimphu.