Curtain raised of 18th SAARC summit
The curtain of the 18th South Asian association for regional Cooperation was raised at 9:30am with the opening speech of host country Nepal’s prime minister Sushil Koirala here at the City Hall with focus on powerful integration among the eight South Asian neighbours. Before that the chairperson of the 17th SAARC Summit, Abdullah Yameen Abdul Gayoom, also president of Maldives, declared open the 18th Summit with the theme of ‘Deeper Integration for Peace and Prosperity’. Abdullah Yameen Abdul Gayoom invited prime minister of Nepal Sushil Koirala to light the lamp on behalf of all the heads of states and of governments of SAARC member countries while the band played Mangal Dhoon (a chant seeking divine blassings). The 17th SAARC summit chairperson also invited the Nepalese prime minister to deliver his inaugural speech. All heads of the delegation from the SAARC countries started arriving at the SAARC Summit Venue, City Hall from 9:00am.
President of Afghanistan, Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, Bhutan prime minister, Lyonchhen Tshering Tobgay, prime minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina, prime minister of India, Narendra Modi, Maldives president, Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom, Pakistan prime minister, Nawaz Sharif and president of Sri Lanka, Mahinda Rajapaksa were welcomed by Sushil Koirala and the first lady, Sujata Koirala into the City Hall. They were received at the city hall premises by foreign minister Mahendra Bahadur Pandey and chief of protocol, Kali Prasad Pokhrel. Of the head of states and governments, five head of states and governments of SAARC member countries were taking part for the first time in the SAARC Summit. Tshering Tobgay, prime minister of Bhutan, Indian prime minister Narendra Modi, Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom, president of the Maldives, Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, president of Afghanistan, and Nepal’s Prime Minister Sushil Koirala are taking part in the SAARC Summit for the first time while Sheikh Hasina, prime minister of Bangladesh, Nawaz Sharif, prime minister of Pakistan, and Mahinda Rajapaksa, president of Sri Lanka took part in the previous SAARC Summits.
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