Peace, security essential for economic advancement within SAARC
region - Foreign Minister
INDIA: "During the last two decades our association was able
to charter various projects and programmes to achieve the objectives."
"However, it is essential to have peace and security to have
meaningful economic and social progress in the SAARC region," said
Minister of Foreign Affairs Rohitha Bogollagama addressing the SAARC
Council of Ministers held at Vigyan Bhavan in New Delhi on Monday.
The Minister further said that Sri Lanka strongly feels that it is
time that we focus on strengthening practical measures of corporation in
terms of the existing instruments on suppression of terrorism in SAARC
and other multilateral fora, while reaffirming our commitment to condemn
terrorism in all its forms and manifestations in order to ensure a
region free of violence and terrorism.
He went on to say that he is happy to note that SAARC is moving from
declaratory statements to implementation process.
Towards this end we support the proposal to rationalize and
prioritize the activities on the broad principles of progress made in
the sectors and the requirement of high level interaction and regional
priority and needs.
He further said that "we after four years of intense negotiations
among us, reached an agreement as a first step towards creating a free
trade area in South Asia which would develop Trade in Services and
finally reach the lofty goal of creating a SAARC economic union.
"Therefore, to keep the momentum going and also to prepare us as a
region to face the challenges posed by the globalization in the 21st
century we should carefully ensure that the SAFTA agreement is
We should also address all related issues to create a conducive
environment for all member countries to freely conduct trade in the
Implementation of SAFTA will inject a new sense of dynamism and take
the association to a greater level of economic prosperity," said the
Minister. The Foreign Ministers of all seven SAARC countries with the
latest addition to the SAARC, Afghanistan participated at the meeting
chaired by the Minister of External Affairs of India Pranab Mukherjee.
Among the issues discussed and approved by the Heads of Governments
at the 14th SAARC Summit were Regional Connectivity, SAARC Visa Scheme,
SAARC Development Fund, SAARC Food Bank.