20 February 2014, Male'; Minister of Foreign Affairs H.E. Ms Dunya Maumoon yesterday presided over the 35th Session of the SAARC Council of Ministers held at Bandos island Resort. As current chairperson of SAARC, the Maldives successfully led the proceedings of the Session which also was attended by the Foreign and External Affairs Ministers of SAARC.
The Council was presented with the reports of the preceding meetings including the 40th Session of the Standing Committee and the 45th Session of the Programming Committee ; and it also considered the reports of the Ministerial Meetings held since the last Session. The Delegation of Nepal briefed the Council on the preparations for the upcoming 18th SAARC Summit, which is scheduled to be hosted by the Government of Nepal in November this year.
As the term of the current Secretary General expires at the end of this month, the Government of Nepal's nomination of a new Secretary General was considered by the Council. The nomination, therefore, of H.E. Mr. Arjun Bahadur Thapa was endorsed by the Council as the next Secretary General, beginning his term on 1st March 2014. On behalf of the Council, the Chairperson, Foreign Minister Ms. Maumoon thanked H.E. Mr. Ahmed Saleem for the tenacity and wisdom with which he conducted the work of the Secretariat. She also congratulated the new Secretary General on his endorsement to the post and expressed the Council's confidence in his able leadership in steering the Secretariat.
In her concluding remarks , the Foreign Ministers focused on the important role of the Council in leading the Association's work to facilitate the achievement of the goals set out in the Charter of SAARC. Minister Ms. Maumoon also reiterated the importance of timely implementation of the decisions taken at the Session and urged the assistance of the Council in making SAARC an effective and relevant organization.
The Delegation of Nepal, as the incoming Chair of the SAARC, thanked the Government and people of Maldives for the warm hospitality and successful conclusion of the Session.
The Maldives delegation to the Council, while being led by the Foreign Minister, also included the Foreign Secretary H.E. Dr. Ali Nasser Mohamed, Ambassador at Large H.E. Mr. Abdullah Hameed, Permanent Secretary H.E. Mr. Hassan Shifau, Deputy Minister H.E. Ms. Fathimath Inaya, Joint Secretary Liusha Zahir, Director Farzana Zahir and Assistant Director Fathimath Najwa.
The next council will be held preceding the 18th SAARC Summit in Kathmandu in November this year.