Seven Embassies of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) member countries in Jakarta, namely Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Turkey and Uzbekistan jointly held a “Nowruz Festival” last week at the ASEAN Secretariat. The festival, which has been celebrated for over 3000 years by many groups of people in the Middle East, Central and South Asian regions, is to mark the first day of spring and the official beginning of the New Year. The event at the ASEAN Secretariat entailed a photo and handicraft exhibition, musical performances and variety of national cuisines from ECO countries.

H.E. Mr. Tamerlan Karayev, the Ambassador of Azerbaijan to ASEAN delivered opening remarks on behalf of ECO Ambassadors accredited in Jakarta. In his speech, he briefly explained the meaning of Nowruz and the Persian traditions regarding this celebration, which upholds the feeling of togetherness in one big family. He also expressed his appreciation to the guests for joining the people from ECO countries in the event and hoped that this tradition of celebrating the Nowruz will continue.

H.E. Mr. Nyan Lynn, Deputy Secretary-General for ASEAN Political-Security Community, on behalf of the Secretary-General of ASEAN, gave his remarks at the festival. DSG Lynn highlighted the important meaning of the Nowruz as it is aimed to strengthen the ties among people based on mutual respect and the culture of peace and good neighbourliness—just as said by the thirteenth century’s Persian poet Saadi, “The children of Adams are limbs to each other, having been created of one essence.” DSG Lynn also expressed the honour for the ASEAN Secretariat to be the venue of the event, which would enable the Secretariat to contribute to further strengthening the awareness, mutual understanding and cooperation among the peoples of ASEAN Member States and ECO.

DSG Lynn further expressed his appreciation to the ECO Ambassadors Contact-Group (ECO-ACG) in Jakarta for taking the initiative to further enhance the close relationship between ASEAN and ECO, and hoped that it would grow stronger in the future.

Please click here for the Opening Remarks at Nowruz Festival by H.E. Nyan Lynn, Deputy Secretary-General for the ASEAN Political-Security Community, ASEAN Secretariat, 21 March 2013