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Tackling terrorism high on SAARC agenda

Agreement on anti-terror measures to be included in Declaration:

COLOMBO: The SAARC Summit beginning in Colombo tomorrow will consider a regional framework for cooperation in tackling terrorism with a legal mechanism for effectively dealing with the menace, Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama said yesterday.

In this regard, he referred to the proposed agreement for SAARC Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters and said it would be effective in dealing with crime in the region.

The formation would efficiently deal with terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.

The Minister briefing the media at the conclusion of the 30th session of SAARC Council of Ministers said this was the first time in SAARC history that such an agreement on terrorism was included in the main declaration.

He also added that the proposed Colombo Declaration which would be forwarded for perusal at the main Summit attended by the leaders was unanimously approved by the Council of Foreign Ministers.

The draft of the Colombo Declaration under the title “partnership for the growth of our people” has placed high emphasis on the “human face” of SAARC bearing in mind the Charter objective that the ultimate beneficiaries of the process should be the people of the region, Bogollagama added.

According to the Minister, in addition to terrorism the Colombo Declaration would give high priority to matters such as food security, poverty alleviation, maximizing energy and water resources, action plan on climate change, economic cooperation, regional transport, education, health and a quality control mechanism for goods.

He also said that the leaders had realised the need to progress towards the implementation phase in SAARC and during the coming year with Sri Lanka at the helm it would launch an aggressive modus operandi in this regard to realize SAARC goals. The SAARC Development Fund Charter would definitely be incorporated during the Summit, the Minister added.

Also, the Ministers have agreed to continue to build solidly on the economic cooperation initiated by SAFTA.

The Minister also added that the concluded 30th session of the SAARC Council of Ministers which has laid ground for the main Summit was conducted in an expeditious and in a constructive spirit which had contributed to the operational effectiveness.

The main Summit attended by heads of Member States would take place on Saturday and Sunday.


Gamin Gamata - Presidential Community & Welfare Service
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LANKAPUVATH - National News Agency of Sri Lanka

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