Amjad Hussian B. Sial, Secretary General of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), called on Rabindra Prasad Adhikari, Minister for Culture Tourism and Civil Aviation of Nepal. While felicitating the Minister on his assumption of the Office, the Secretary General expressed his good wishes for success in the important assignment, which is relevant to the areas of cooperation in the SAARC process. He also congratulated the Minister on successful holding of International Buddhist Conference recently in Lumbini.
While reiterating Nepal’s commitment to the SAARC process, the Minister expressed the hope that the Nineteenth SAARC Summit would be convened as soon as possible and dates of the Summit would be announced at the earliest. In this regard, the Minister highlighted the efforts being made by Nepal as the current Chair of SAARC to create a conducive environment for holding of the SAARC Summit and other meetings through active consultations with the other Member States.
According to press release issued by SAARC Secretariat, the Minister underscored the need of pursuing the objectives and ideals of the SAARC Charter and aspirations of the peoples by promoting key areas of cooperation. The Minister also underscored the need for improving intra-regional connectivity, cultural cooperation and promotion of tourism.
The Secretary General briefed the Minister on the progress being made and recent activities/meetings held in the fields of culture, tourism and civil aviation. While stating that tourism, culture and civil aviation constitute important areas of cooperation in the SAARC process, the Secretary General particularly emphasized the need to improve intra-regional air connectivity by early finalization of SAARC Air Services Agreement, for the promotion of economic relations, people-to-people contacts and tourism. He agreed that the SAARC Summits should be held regularly as decided by the Leaders and underlined that other activities of the SAARC Mechanisms should be held as per calendar of activities.
The Minister said that serious efforts should be made by all concerned to achieve the objectives of the SAARC Charter for welfare of the peoples. The Secretariat should also continue to play its due role. He expressed the confidence that with his vast experience, the Secretary General would make an important contribution in this regard. The Secretary General assured his full cooperation and thanked the Government of Nepal for its valuable support to the SAARC Secretariat.