Saturday, December 8, 2007

SAARC Foreign Ministers meeting begins in New Delhi

To discuss ways to jointly fight the terrorism which is posing common threat to South Asia, Foreign Ministers of South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries began parleys here Friday.

The meeting will also seek to push the proposed regional Investment Protection and Promotion Agreement besides discussing operationalization of SAARC Development Fund and stepping up connectivity among the eight member countries.

Liberalization of visa regime, setting up of SAARC University and tele-medicine network will also figure in the Council of Ministers meeting.

It will also consider application of Australia and Mauritius for association with SAARC as Observers, joining the US, EU, South Korea, Japan, China and Iran in that category.

Setting the stage for the meeting, Foreign Secretaries of the eight-member grouping held deliberations over the last two days on evolving ways to tackle terrorism jointly which is posing problems to all SAARC nations.

The meeting discussed ways to implement various conventions on combating terrorism, Foreign Secretary, Shivshankar Menon, told reporters.

The Foreign Secretaries' meeting decided to recommend
operationalization of the SAARC Development Fund immediately with the money available, Menon said.

Inter-governmental experts will look into other aspects elated to the fund that is intended to be a corpus to help member countries in the hour of need.

SAARC comprises India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Maldives and Afghanistan.

Source: IRNA

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