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'SAARC Member States will come up with consensus to convene the 19th Summit at an early date'.

Prime Minister and Chair of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) K P Sharma Oli paid a visit to the SAARC Headquarters in Thamel today.

He expressed happiness to visit the SAARC Headquarters for the first time as Prime Minister and Chair of SAARC.

He also expressed pleasure to host the SAARC Secretariat and SAARC Tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS Centre. 'Neighbourhood relations and regional cooperation are one of the priorities of our foreign policy.

As a founding member and current Chair of SAARC, Nepal strongly believes in regional cooperation in order to promote collective well-being of the people of South Asia,' he said. 'SAARC is an expression of our regional solidarity in South Asia.

It has become a common identity for the people of this region,' the Rt. Hon'ble Prime Minister said. 'It represents hope of over 1.7 billion people for this region for accelerated economic growth, social progress and cultural development.' Stating that the Nineteenth SAARC Summit was long overdue, he said, 'We are eagerly looking forward to hand over the Chairmanship. I hope the SAARC Member States will come up with consensus to convene the Nineteenth SAARC Summit at an early date.' The Prime Minister appreciated the Secretary General and his team for facilitating regional cooperation within the SAARC framework and for making meticulous arrangements for receiving him at the Secretariat. To mark his visit to the Secretariat, the Rt. Hon'ble Prime Minister planted a Rudraksya (UTRASUM BEAD TREE) sapling in its premises.

After planting the sapling, he said, 'May the Rudrakshya sapling that I planted here at the Secretariat grow to inspire the Governments of South Asia to strengthen the SAARC process for delivering peace, development, prosperity and the greater good of the people of South Asia.' The Secretary General stated that as a founding member of SAARC, Nepal had been playing a very constructive role in its evolution since inception. 'The three milestone SAARC Summits hosted and several important initiatives spearheaded by Nepal have contributed enormously toward the SAARC process,' he said.

He thanked the Government of Nepal for hosting the SAARC Secretariat and SAARC Tuberculosis and HIV/ AIDS Centre.

The Secretary General stated that the convening of meetings of the Charter Bodies of SAARC, including the Summit, provides renewed impetus to the SAARC process.

He said, 'In this context, we greatly value endeavours of the Rt. Hon'ble Prime Minister and the Chair of SAARC for convening of the Nineteenth Summit in Islamabad.' Since its establishment in Kathmandu on 16 January 1987, several SAARC Heads of State and Government have visited the Secretariat. In 2018, the former President of Sri Lanka and the former Prime Minister of Pakistan visited the SAARC Secretariat during their bilateral visits to Nepal.

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Publication:People's Review (Kathmandu, Nepal)
Geographic Code:9NEPA
Date:Feb 14, 2020
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