ISLAMABAD – SAARC Secretary General Arjun Bahadur Thapa called on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and briefed him on the upcoming 18th SAARC Summit scheduled to take place in November 2014 in Kathmandu, Nepal.
Congratulating Thapa on his appointment, the prime minister expressed the hope that SAARC would emerge as a catalyst for economic integration and connectivity in the region under his stewardship. He reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment to the SAARC process and outlined his vision for peace and prosperity – based on economic revival – in South Asia.
With a population of over three billion, Nawaz said that the SAARC region had much to offer and great prospects, but despite agreements such as SAFTA and SATIS, remained short of its potential. He looked forward to participating in the next summit and interacting with other SAARC leaders.
On the occasion, Thapa appreciated the prime minister’s vision for SAARC and South Asia at large. He briefed Nawaz Sharif about the upcoming SAARC Summit and said that the prime minister’s views about regional connectivity and economic integration would be invaluable in tailoring the summit’s agenda.
He informed the prime minister that a major area of cooperation in the next SAARC Summit would be energy and hydro-carbon cooperation and connectivity. Earlier, the SAARC secretary general also called on National Security and Foreign Affairs Adviser Sartaj Aziz who assured him of Pakistan’s full support for the organization’s aims, objectives and activities.
The adviser highlighted importance of energy cooperation and connectivity within the region that would enhance trade and progress within SAARC. He said that the SAARC Secretariat could play an important role in bringing the member states together, and ensuring the timely implementation of SAARC programmes and activities that benefit the entire region.
Thapa also highlighted the important role that some regional centres had played in SAARC and drew attention to the effective work of the SAARC Energy Centre.