The ASEAN Secretariat and embassies of seven member countries of the Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO) on March 25 jointly celebrated the Nowruz festival in Jakarta, Indonesia.

The 3,000-year-old Nowruz festival salutes the first day of spring and the official beginning of the New Year by people in the Middle East , Central and South Asian regions.

The event in Jakarta entailed a photo and handicraft exhibition, folk musical performances and variety of national cuisines from ECO countries, particularly the seven participating countries -- Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Turkey and Uzbekistan.

Opening the festival, Azerbaijan Ambassador Tamerlan Karayev made a brief explanation of the meaning of Nowruz, which upholds the feeling of togetherness in one big family, and the Persian traditions regarding the celebration.

He also appreciated ASEAN guests’ presence at the event and hoped that ASEAN and ECO will continue organising Nowruz festival as their tradition.

Deputy Secretary-General for ASEAN Political-Security Community Nyan Lynn, on behalf of the ASEAN Secretary General, highlighted the Nowruz significance of strengthening the ties among people based on mutual respect and the culture of peace and good neighbourliness.

Lynn said the organisation of the festival at the ASEAN Secretariat headquarters would enable the Secretariat to contribute to further promoting the awareness, mutual understanding and cooperation among the peoples of ASEAN member states and ECO.

He hoped that the close ties between the two sides would grow stronger in the future.-VNA