SAARC General Secretary calls on President Rajapaksa
By Janaka Alahapperuma
June 24, 2011
The newly-appointed Secretary General of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Ms. Fathimath Dhiyana Saeed of Maldives paid a courtesy call on President Mahinda Rajapaksa at Temple Trees today on 22 June. Minister of External Affairs Prof. G.L Peiris, Foreign Secretary Karunaratne Amunugama, Director General of President's Media and spokesman Bandula Jayasekera and Senior Officials of the Ministry and the SAARC were also present.

Ms. Fathimath Dhiyana Saeed of the Maldives was appointment as the Secretary-General of SAARC in February 2011 by the SAARC Council of Ministers. She succeeds Dr. Sheel Kant Sharma of India.

A former Attorney General of the Republic of Maldives and a former parliamentarian, Ms. Saeed is the tenth Secretary-General of SAARC and is the first woman to occupy this prestigious position. She was serving as Maldivian Governmentís Envoy for South Asia just prior to assuming her new assignment in Kathmandu. She holds a Masterís Degree in Law from the Graduate School of Law and Politics, Osaka University, Japan.

The Secretaries-General of SAARC are appointed by the Council of Ministers upon nomination by a Member State on the basis of the principle of rotation in alphabetical order for a period of three years. Upon nomination by the Government of Maldives, the 33rd Session of the SAARC Council of Ministers held in Thimphu, Bhutan on 8 February 2011, had appointed Ms. Saeed to lead SAARC. She is the second Maldivian to be appointed as the General Secretary of SAARC after Special Envoy to the President Ibrahim Hussein Zakee, who also held prominent positions in the former government.

Launched in December 1985, SAARC the regional body comprising eight South Asian countries of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka as its members.

Pix By: Chandana Perera