10 April 2012, Male’: H. E. Mr. Ahmed Saleem, the new Secretary General of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) met with H. E. Dr. Abdul Samad Abdullah, Minister of Foreign Affairs yesterday.
During the meeting Secretary General Mr. Saleem thanked Minister Dr. Samad for the cooperation and support extended by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs towards the SAARC Secretariat and assured Dr. Samad of continued support and cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and expressed his hope for a very productive and meaningful relationship between the Secretariat and the Ministry.
Mr. Saleem observed that SAARC is a Member States driven organization and that he does not believe one man can change the entire process of how SAARC operates. However, Mr. Saleem expressed his genuine commitment towards improving and strengthening the SAARC Secretariat, within the existing frameworks of SAARC.
Minister Dr. Samad congratulated Secretary General Mr. Saleem on the assumption of this prestigious position and extended his welcome to the Secretary General, as this is his first visit to the Maldives in his official capacity as Secretary General of SAARC. Dr. Samad commended Mr. Saleem for his pragmatic approach towards improving and strengthening SAARC and its mechanisms and wished him every success.
Minister Dr. Samad noted the importance of SAARC for its Member States, especially in areas such as Trade and Social services. In this regard Dr. Samad specifically noted the importance of SAARC for the commercial sector, which he noted is one of the most significant aspects of development of the region. He also observed SAARC’s limitations in implementing various projects in priority areas due to lack of resources and exchanged his views on meaningful ways to increase SAARC’s capacity to raise funds on its own. In this regard he emphasized the need for SAARC to improve its coordination with various development partners including international organizations which operate within the region.
SAARC Secretary General is in the Maldives to attend the Fourth Meeting of the SAARC Health Ministers and preceding SAARC Health Secretaries/ Senior Officials Meeting being held in Paradise Island Resort from 10 – 12 April 2012. This is Mr. Saleem’s first official visit to the Maldives after assuming his duties as the Secretary General of SAARC on 12 March 2012.