- The Secretary General of SAARC, H. E. Mr. Amjad Hussain B. Sial, is on an introductory visit to Sri Lanka from 29 to 31 May 2017.
- During the visit, the Secretary General paid courtesy calls on H. E. Mr. Maithripala Sirisena, President of Sri Lanka; and Hon. Ravi Karunanayake, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and held a meeting with H. E. Mr. Esala Weerakoon, Foreign Secretary of Sri Lanka.
- In his meetings with the dignitaries in Sri Lanka, Mr. Sial thanked the Government of Sri Lanka for its valuable support to his appointment as the Secretary General of SAARC. He conveyed sincere condolences on the loss of precious lives and expressed sympathies to those who were injured and became homeless, and on colossal loss caused to the property by recent torrential rain and landslides in Sri Lanka.
- During his call on the President, the Secretary General apprised the President on the present state of affairs of SAARC and measures being taken to strengthen the SAARC process. The President shared his vision on how to reinvigorate SAARC and how it can serve one fifth of humanity in the region. He also reiterated Sri Lanka’s commitment to SAARC and said that the Ninteenth SAARC Summit may be held soon with substantive outcomes.
- After a briefing by the Secretary General, the Foreign Minister said that SAARC should become more action-oriented, effectively implement its decisions, and emphasized the need for more intra-regional trade. He particularly underscored the need for economic integration and connectivity in the region.
- The Foreign Secretary and the Secretary General exchanged views on all aspects of SAARC and agreed on a number of measures that should be taken to bolster the SAARC process as well as to make the SAARC Secretariat an effective and efficient institution that should be responsive to the Member States of SAARC. The Foreign Secretary and the Secretary General were of the opinion that in order to create conducive environment for early convening of the Nineteenth SAARC Summit, sectoral Ministerial meetings may be held.
- The Secretary General thanked the Government of Sri Lanka for its wholehearted support to SAARC and hosting the SAARC Cultural Centre and for building new premises for the Centre. He also thanked the Government of Sri Lanka for its offer to host two Ministerial-level meetings in July 2017.
- During the visit, the Secretary General, inter alia, will have a meeting with the Secretary General of the Parliament of Sri Lanka and visit the SAARC Cultural Centre.
Kathmandu, 30 May 2017.