The SAARC Council of Ministers met in an informal session in New York on 21 September 2017 on the sidelines of the Seventy-second Session of the United Nations General Assembly.
In his capacity as the Chairperson of the SAARC Council of Ministers, Krishna Bahadur Mahara, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Nepal, presided over the deliberations of the session, attended by Foreign Ministers of SAARC Member States.
In his opening remarks, the Chairperson highlighted the important initiatives taken by Nepal, as the Chair of SAARC, in pursuing the directives of the Eighteenth SAARC Summit held in Kathmandu in November 2014.
Amjad Hussain B. Sial, Secretary-General of SAARC, also addressed the informal session of the Council. In his brief remarks, he apprised the Foreign Ministers of the progress achieved in the implementation of the decisions of the Eighteenth SAARC Summit and the last Session of the Council of Ministers held in Pokhara in March 2016.
The Ministers reiterated their full commitment to the SAARC process and stressed the need to promote progress and prosperity for the people's of South Asian Region through the platform of SAARC. In order to enhance economic relations, people-to-people contacts, and tourism, the Ministers emphasized the need to improve connectivity in the region. They commended the work done by SAARC Secretariat and underlined that it should play an even greater role in promoting the objectives of SAARC. Also, the Ministers agreed to work on the dates for the 19th SAARC Summit and tasked the Secretariat to coordinate.
Taking advantage of their presence in New York during the United Nations General Assembly, the Foreign Ministers of SAARC have been meeting informally since 1987 on the sidelines to exchange views on the SAARC process.