PM for time-bound, result-oriented SAARC programmes

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DHAKA : Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today put emphasis on undertaking time-bound and result-oriented programmes by the SAARC to meet the people’s expectations.

“The SAARC activities should be focused, time-bound and result-oriented to meet the people’s expectations,” she said.

The premier expressed this view when outgoing Secretary General of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Arjun Bahadur Thapa paid a courtesy call on her at her official Ganabhaban residence here this afternoon.

After the meeting, PM’s Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim briefed reporters.

Mentioning that every country of the region is facing similar problems, the premier stressed the need for solving these problems through regional cooperation.

“In the form of regional cooperation, we can address many problems that exist between the countries of the region,” she said.

Paying tributes to Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Sheikh Hasina said the concept of regional cooperation was actually the idea of the Father of the Nation.

Pointing out the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) Motor Vehicle Agreement, the prime minister underscored the need for functioning of the deal for strengthening regional connectivity. “Let’s starts with it,” she said.

Sheikh Hasina also laid importance on joint collaboration between Bangladesh and Nepal on hydroelectricity for mutual benefits of the two countries.

The prime minister said Bangladesh has become self-sufficient in food thanks to various pragmatic steps of her government. “Now we are thinking to change the crop pattern in northern and southern regions to boost food production,” she said.

The SAAC secretary general expressed profound respect to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, describing him as a great leader of the region.

He also lauded the dynamic and visionary leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and said Bangladesh has achieved so much progress and development in socioeconomic sector under her leadership.

“As a neigbour, we are very much happy for it,” he said.

Thapa thanked the prime minister for Bangladesh’s unequivocal support during his tenure to strengthen the eight-nation regional grouping.

While talking about agricultural development in Bangladesh, the SAARC secretary general said: “The good thing is that Bangladeshi farmers could cultivate entire land which we cannot do.”

PM’s International Affairs Adviser Dr Gowher Rizvi and Principal Secretary Dr Kamal Abdul Naser Chowdhury were present on the occasion.

Thapa, the 12th Secretary General of SAARC, will complete his tenure on February 28 in 2017.

He had earlier served as the foreign secretary of Nepal as well as charge de’ affairs of the Permanent Mission of Nepal to the United Nations.

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