SAARC Foreign Ministers Held Virtual Meeting

SAARC Foreign Ministers Held Virtual Meeting

Sept. 24, 2020, 7:58 p.m.

Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali stressed the need to make the South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC) an effective and result-oriented regional organization capable of bringing visible changes in the lives of the peoples of South Asia.

Addressing the Informal virtual meeting of the SAARC Council of Ministers as a chair, Minister for Foreign Affairs Gyawali urged the Member States to explore all viable options to hold the 19th Summit at an early date and to generate the new momentum and dynamism in SAARC.

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The Foreign Minister highlighted the need for deeper engagement of the Member States to collectively fight Covid-19 and develop regional resilience to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic.

The Informal Meeting of the SAARC Council of Ministers was held virtually today. Participated by ministers for Foreign/External Affairs of all the SAARC Member Countries, foreign Secretary Shanker Das Bairagi delivered Nepal’s national statement in the Council Meeting.

The Meeting was hosted by Nepal as the current Chair of SAARC. The Nepali delegation led by the Foreign Minister included Foreign Secretary Shanker Das Bairagi and senior officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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In his opening remarks, the Chair underscored the importance of collective efforts for strengthening regional cooperation to cope with the emerging challenges posed by the global pandemic. In this context, he emphasized the need to reinvigorate the SAARC process to make it more focused and result-oriented in meeting the hopes and aspirations of the people of South Asia.

In their country statements, Ministers of Foreign/External Affairs apprised the Council about the status of implementation of SAARC decisions as well as initiatives taken at the national level to fight the challenges posed by the pandemic. Ministers also emphasized the need to work collectively to overcome the adverse impacts of the pandemic in the region.

In this context, they appreciated the initiative of the Prime Minister of India in convening the SAARC Leaders’ Video Conference on COVID-19 in March this year. They also reviewed the subsequent regional initiatives undertaken to fight against the pandemic.

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Esala Ruwan Weerakoon, Secretary-General of SAARC, also addressed the Informal Meeting. In his address, the Secretary-General presented a progress report on regional cooperation since the last informal meeting of the SAARC Council of Ministers. Referring to the SAARC Charter, he stated that SAARC holds the potential to promote effective regional cooperation in every sphere of development, including for addressing the challenges posed by the pandemic.

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