Press Release

SG addressing the Foreign Ministers Meet in New York

SAARC Foreign Ministers met informally in New York on 25 September 2013 on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

Dr. Mariyam Shakeela, Minister of Environment and Energy and Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs of Maldives chaired the informal meeting organized by the Permanent Mission of Maldives in New York. Maldives holds the Chair of SAARC following its Seventeenth Summit in November 2011.

Opening the meeting, the Chairperson highlighted the important initiatives taken by the Maldives in the implementation of the decisions of the Seventeenth Summit. She also apprised the attending Ministers or their representatives of the impending plans of the Maldivian Government in carrying forward the SAARC process.

Addressing the meeting, the Secretary-General reviewed the progress in the implementation of the Seventeenth Summit directives. He also urged the Ministers or their representatives present at the meeting to consider the possibility of holding the inter-Summit Session of the Council of Ministers and the Eighteenth Summit as early as possible. Elaborating on the urgency of convening these meetings, he stated, "Since the Seventeenth Summit, a number of meetings have been held both at the technical and Ministerial levels. However, no meetings of Charter bodies of SAARC, namely, the Standing Committee, the Council of Ministers and the Summit have taken place since the last Summit, creating a backlog of important decisions to be taken by them. Your Excellencies would readily agree with me that without the convening of these meetings, SAARC activities are bound to suffer due to lack of direction and impetus. At the same time, I strongly feel such postponements of the Charter body meetings for a long period of time impede the process of regional cooperation, where decisions are required to be taken unanimously by the eight Member States."

Following the presentation by the Secretary-General, the Ministers deliberated upon several measures to implement the decisions of the SAARC Charter Bodies, including the Seventeenth Summit, and SAARC Ministerial Meetings, among others. During the meeting, they unequivocally underscored the need to hold the regular Session of the Council of Ministers at an early date.

Pursuant to the decision taken by the Eleventh Session of the Council of Ministers in July 1992, SAARC Foreign Ministers have been meeting informally in New York since 1997 on the sidelines of the UNGA sessions. The last such informal session was held in New York in October 2012.