A delegation from the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) led by its General Secretary Ahmed Saleem was in Indonesia for a working visit to the ASEAN Secretariat on February 27.

At the reception for the delegation, Deputy Secretary General of ASEAN for ASEAN Socio-cultural Council (ASCC) Alicia dela Rosa Bala affirmed that the bloc is striving to intensify relations with external partners including the SAARC and South Asian countries, highlighting the time-honoured relationship between the two regions, as well as the participation of SAARC member states in ASEAN-driven regional processes such as the ASEAN Regional Forum.

For his part, Saleem expressed his wish to enhance the cooperation between the two secretariats as well as between member states of the two regions in the spirit of the South-South cooperation that would be mutually beneficial.

The two secretariats discussed the development in the regions and reviewed the ASEAN-SAARC Secretariats’ Partnership Work Plan (2008-2009) and the future practical cooperative activities. The discussions focused on issues such as trade and investment, energy, health, agriculture, tourism, disaster management, narcotics control, trafficking in persons and poverty reduction.-VNA