Pokhara, March 18: The visiting foreign and external affairs ministers and the top-level government officials from the SAARC member countries were bade farewell amidst a ceremony in Pokhara today.
Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Foreign Minister of the Maldives Dunya Maumoon, Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera, Bangaldeshi Foreign Minister Abul Hasan Muhammad Ali, Bhutanese Foreign Minister Damajo Dorji, Afghanistan’s Deputy Foreign Minister Hikmah Khalid Karzai and Pakistani Prime Minister’s Foreign Affairs Advisor Sartaj Aziz arrived in the lake city to participate in the 37th Session of the SAARC Council of Ministers’ meeting were bade farewell.
The foreign dignitaries took part in the Council of Ministers’ meeting held various bilateral and multilateral talks in Pokhara.
Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj arrived directly in Pokhara by an Indian Air Force aircraft and returned home by the same, said Foreign Ministry’s Deputy Chief of Protocol, Rajaram Bartaula.
The foreign ministers and officials of the other SAARC member states will return via Kathmandu, Foreign Ministry’s Joint Secretary, Bhrigu Dhungana said.
The VIP guests were seen off by Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Kamal Thapa, Deputy Chief of Protocol Bartaula, Regional Administrator Shanker Prasad Koirala at the Pokhara Airport.
During the meeting, the foreign and external affairs ministers deliberated on a slew of issues that included upholding SAARC’s influential role, introducing the community forestry programme–which has been successful in Nepal–in all SAARC countries, eradicating regional poverty, minimizing the impacts of climate change and linking all eight SAARC member countries in a network of transport.
The meeting also decided on establishing the SAARC Disaster Management Centre in New Delhi, India, while setting up the Natural Management Centre in Islamabad of Pakistan.
The meeting also took the decision to hold the 19th SAARC Summit on November 8-10 in Pakistan. The SAARC Summit will be held biannually in the month of November, as per the decision.