H. E. Mr. Ahmed Saleem, Secretary General of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) paid a visit to Pakistan from 7 to 8 January 2014.
During the visit, the Secretary-General called on H. E. Mr. Sartaj Aziz, Advisor to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs; H.E. Syed Tariq Fatemi, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs; and H. E. Mr. Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry, Foreign Secretary.
During the Secretary-General’s call on H. E. Mr. Sartaj Aziz, Advisor to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs, the Advisor reiterated that Pakistan is fully committed to the principles and objectives of the SAARC Charter to promote the welfare of the people of this region through effective regional integration. He further stated that Pakistan is a vibrant member of SAARC and hoped that despite several impediments, SAARC will become a catalyst for regional development.
In his meeting with the Secretary-General, H. E. Mr. Syed Tariq Fatemi, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs, highlighted that Pakistan values SAARC as a dynamic regional platform for building economic synergies, deepening regional integration and bringing the people of South Asia together.
The Foreign Secretary hosted a luncheon in honour of the Secretary-General which was also attended by Envoys from the SAARC Member States based in Islamabad, Federal Secretaries, Directors from three SAARC Regional Centres and high officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
During the calls on the high dignitaries, the Secretary-General apprised them of the current status of regional cooperation under the auspices of SAARC with particular reference to intra-regional connectivity and economic integration. The Secretary-General briefed the dignitaries about the preparations underway for the convening of the Inter-Summit Session of the SAARC Council of Ministers and its preceding meetings to be held in the Maldives from 17 to 20 February 2014. He also informed them about the Comprehensive Study that the SAARC Secretariat has undertaken to strengthen the SAARC mechanisms, including the SAARC Secretariat and Regional Centres. This is the first time in the history of the Association that the Secretariat has been mandated to prepare such a Study.