NOWRUZ FESTIVAL

Opening Remarks
by H.E. Nyan Lynn, Deputy Secretary-General
forthe ASEAN Political-Security Community

ASEAN Secretariat, 21 March 2013

Your Excellencies the Permanent Representatives to ASEAN;
Your Excellencies the Ambassadors of the Member States of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) in Jakarta;
Your Excellencies the Ambassadors to ASEAN;
Your Excellencies the Ambassadors to Indonesia;
Distinguished Guests;
Ladies and Gentlemen;

A very Good Evening to all of you gathered here today.
It gives me great pleasure to welcome Your Excellencies and Distinguished Guests to the ASEAN Secretariat this evening. It is indeed an honor for me, on behalf of the Secretary-General of ASEAN, H.E. Le Luong Minh, to say a few wordsat this event to mark and celebrate the Nowruz Festival.

The Nowruz Festival is an important and auspicious event as it is the traditional New Day celebrated across the ECO countries. The celebration today is all the more meaningful as this traditional festival has recently been recognized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation(UNESCO) as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Also, Nowruz carries a special meaning to us all gathered here and beyond as it aims to strengthen the ties among all peoples based on mutual respect and promote the culture of peace and good neighbourliness. The thirteenth century’s Persian Poet Saadi said “The children of Adam are limbs to each other, having been created of one essence.

Excellencies,
Ladies and gentlemen,

It is in this spirit of strengthening and promoting the awareness and mutual understanding among the peoples of ASEAN and ECO Member States that we are extremely honoured and proud to accept the proposal of the ECO Contact Group in Jakarta to hold the Nowruz Festival here at the ASEAN Secretariat.

I thank the Contact Group and the ECO Member States here in Jakarta for taking this initiative to further enhance the close relationship between ASEAN and ECO. This relationship has been built upon the basis of friendship, mutual understanding and cooperation over the past twenty years, and we hope it grows even stronger in the future. We hope that the ASEAN Secretariat can be a venue of choice for other events that would help in the promotion of closer ties between ASEAN and ECO.

Excellencies,
Ladies and gentlemen,

Now let us turn our attention to the celebration at hand. Our friends from the ECO Member States have done their very best to showcase a sample of the very rich Persian tradition and culture that they have. So please enjoy the sights and sounds of the Nowruz Festival with a photo exhibition, a cultural performance and a selection of traditional food and delicacies prepared by the organizers.

On behalf of the Secretary-General of ASEAN and all of us here at the ASEAN Secretariat, I wish you all a wonderful and memorable evening.

Thank you.