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PICTURE REPORT:

    

Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall (BMICH) - Colombo

(Left) President Mahinda Rajapaksa with Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh at the Presidential Secretariat, Colombo yesterday. (Right) President Mahinda Rajapaksa with Pakistani Prime Minister Yosuf Raza Gilani at the Presidential Secretariat, Colombo yesterday. Pictures by Sudath Silva

            PICTURE GALLERY

NEWS COLLECTION:

SAARC consensus on key issues

A productive and fruitful 15th ‘Heads of State’ SAARC summit was concluded at the BMICH in Colombo yesterday, with high priority and strong focus laid on taking collective action to confront Food and Energy Hikes in the region as well as the scourge of terrorism.

US pledges support to combat terrorism

The United States Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, Richard A. Boucher yesterday affirmed that the US will increase its support to the Sri Lankan government.

SAARC leaders pledge action on Food Security

SAARC leaders yesterday issued a special ‘Colombo Statement on Food Security’, pledging action to face the reduced food availability and the worldwide rise in food prices.

SAARC Summit 2008: The Colombo Declaration

The Heads of State or Government reaffirmed their commitment to the principles and objectives enshrined in the SAARC Charter.

SAARC will firmly cooperate against terrorism, organised crime - President

The remarks made by President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the Concluding Session of the 15th SAARC Summit at the BMICH, Colombo yesterday.

Terrorism single biggest threat to South Asia - Indian PM

South Asia has travelled a long distance in the 23 years since SAARC was established. The winds of democracy and political change have swept across our region. Our people’s aspirations, particularly of our youth, for a better life and for greater empowerment, are rising and rising very fast.

SAARC commitment to poverty reduction

The SAARC was established with the aim of promoting the welfare of the people of the region through accelerated economic growth, social progress and cultural development.

We should fight terrorism individually, collectively - Pakistani PM

The world is facing today the menace of extremism and terrorism, which has challenged our entire value system and impacted our socio-economic development. Though Pakistan has suffered the most, terrorism afflicts all countries of our region. It is our joint responsibility to rid our region of this scourge.

Terrorism a sinister threat to South Asia’s security - Afghan President

I must re-emphasise that the challenge of terrorism must be overcome in order for us to realize the potential of greater regional economic integration. Through greater economic integration, we can work towards shared prosperity and improve the welfare of our people

Unity vital for SAARC prosperity - Bangladeshi Chief Advisor

Speech by Dr. Fakhruddin Ahmed, Chief Adviser of Bangladesh at the Inaugural Session of the Fifteenth SAARC Summit on Saturday.

More urgent action needed on economic integration - Maldives President

Address by Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, President of the Republic of Maldives at the SAARC Heads of State Summit on Saturday in Colombo

President calls for collective action to combat terrorism

The entire membership of the SAARC needs to redouble its efforts for collective action to combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations to promote peace and enhance prosperity in the region, said President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Strengthen democracy in North and East : Indian PM tells Tamil and Muslim parties

Tamil and Muslim political parties from the North and the East briefed extensively the Indian Premier Dr. Manmohan Singh and his senior officials who are here in Colombo to attend the SAARC Summit on the ground realities in the North and the East and called upon India to help find a early political solution to the Lankan crisis.

SAARC leaders urge joint fight against terrorism

The leaders of South Asia called for fighting terrorism together as a regional Summit overshadowed by border conflict between India and Pakistan, its biggest members, opened yesterday.

SAARC Fair to strengthen trade ties

An assortment of products from the SAARC countries will be displayed at the forthcoming SAARC Trade Fair to be held from August 28-31 at the BMICH.

To combat terrorism: Redouble efforts for collective action - President

Asia’s evolution has been founded on ancient traditions of environmental sustainability, integrating environmental responsibility with cultural and religious values. We should go back to the tradition of sharing that sustained our people in the past, shedding the tradition of exploitation of nature that came to us from our former conquerors.

SAARC as vehicle for peace and prosperity

It is hard to live in the changing world in isolation as everything is interlinked, interconnected and globalised in the present global village where borders have disintegrated as a result of modern and amazing technological developments.

SAARC focus partnership for our people: With great expectations for a thriving future

With the hope of creating an effective partnership among the member countries of the South Asian region was the great expectation that prompted the formation of our own South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC), back in the 1980s.

Eight leaders begin deliberations today: SAARC focus on five key issues

The 15th SAARC Heads of State Summit will get underway in Colombo today with special emphasis on the issues of terrorism, poverty alleviation, food and energy security, and climate change.

Security increased for SAARC

Over 19,000 Police and Security Forces personnel have been deployed for the 15th SAARC summit being held today and tomorrow with the participation of Heads of States from eight SAARC nations who arrived here yesterday.

India, Lanka prosperity closely linked - Manmohan Singh

One cannot envisage a prosperous India without strong links with her neighbours, and the present SAARC Summit in Colombo provided an opportunity for such a partnership, said Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh

Five SAARC countries hardest hit by terrorism

PAKISTAN: Five SAARC Members - Pakistan, Sri Lanka, India, Nepal and Afghanistan - figure prominently in a list of countries most hit by terror in the second quarter of 2008.

India seeks big rise in SAARC trade

NEW DELHI: India will give a major push to deepening trade ties among South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) nations at the Summit in Colombo, according to highly-placed sources.

Nepal, Lanka discuss Lumbini development

Sri Lanka and Nepal agreed yesterday to develop Lumbini as the most attractive and sacred tourist destination in the South Asia region during talks between the leaders of the two countries.

New air links between Lanka and Bangladesh

The establishment of new air links between Sri Lanka and Dhaka was among the key items discussed between the Head of State and Chief Advisor of Bangladesh Dr. Fakhruddin Ahmed and President Mahinda Rajapaksa at bilateral talks at the Presidential Secretariat yesterday.

Lanka, Bhutan - Common challenge of climate change

Bhutan and Sri Lanka share common ideals, traditions and challenges, said Bhutan Prime Minister Lyonpo Jigmi Y Thinley. Among the challenges faced by the two countries were the pressing issues of climate change. While Bhutan faces the crisis of melting glaciers, Sri Lanka is facing the problems caused by the rise in sea levels and changes in weather patterns, he said.

South Asian journalists seek visa-free movement

The fourth SAARC journalists’ summit concluded in Colombo yesterday with delegates reminding the eight State leaders of the need to move forward from pledges to actual implementation of the commitments they have already pledged, mainly ensuring the safety of journalists and visa free cross border movement.

SAARC: The best way forward

In spite of proliferation of economic and political groupings at continental and sub-continental levels in all the continents of the world in the post-Second World War period, only a handful could claim to have achieved considerable success in terms of economic and/or political cooperation and integration.

Focus on economic agenda

Tremendous opportunities of win-win cooperation exist in South Asia, which are yet to be exploited. Nearly three-fourths of intra-regional trade potential remains to be exploited, thanks to tariff and non-tariff barriers, poor transport infrastructure and connectivity, lack of trade facilitation and poor banking links, among other barriers.

Developing trade within SAARC

Countries in the SAARC region have some of the best business and institutional practices for strengthening the business environment. Certain practices including rules and regulations largely create and facilitate business activities.

SAARC: Each Summit a step forward

The leaders of SAARC countries meet annually with fanfare despite the accusation that the organisation is less effective compared with other regional entities like EU and ASEAN. With a theme called “Partnership for our people,” the 15th Summit will focus on terrorism, food security, energy and other issues.

Urgent need to strengthen anti-terror measures

The forthcoming 15th SAARC Summit in Colombo, Sri Lanka, is crucial not only because of the terrorist violence that continues to pummel South Asia today, but also to decide on the fate of the SAARC Regional Convention on Suppression of Terrorism signed in 1987.

Hoarding to welcome SAARC leaders in double quick time

The welcome hoarding impressed many including President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who stopped his retinue to have a good look. The display board welcomes all the distinguished guests from SAARC countries for the 15th summit. No doubt it has caught the eye of important delegates.

Warm welcome to SAARC Leaders at BIA

Pictorial

When the leaders met ...

Pictorial

Tackling terrorism high on SAARC agenda - Agreement on anti-terror measures to be included in Declaration

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.

Indian, Pakistani PMs to meet

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani will meet in Colombo tomorrow on the sidelines of the SAARC summit, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said yesterday.

President to hold talks with SAARC leaders

COLOMBO: On the sidelines of the 15th SAARC Summit, President Mahinda Rajapaksa is set to hold meetings today and tomorrow with both Heads of Government\State of several member countries and delegation leaders of observer countries.

15th SAARC Summit

Daily News Supplement

FM holds bilateral talks with SAARC counterparts

Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama held bilateral discussions with his SAARC colleagues from Bangladesh, Bhutan and Pakistan, in Colombo to attend the 15th SAARC Summit.

SAARC becoming action oriented - Indian PM

The South Asian region has traversed a long distance since the formation of SAARC in the eighties, Indian Prime Minister Dr. manmohan Singh said in New Delhi yesterday.

Korean delegation for SAARC summit

A Korean delegation headed by Cho Jung-Pyo, Minister, Prime Minister's Office will arrive in Colombo today for the 15th SAARC summit.

The vision of a South Asian Community

SAARC, since its inception, has positively contributed to a resurgence of South Asian consciousness over the years. Assertion of a South Asian identity has emanated from the growth of such consciousness.

SAARC: give priority for people’s security

This should be an excellent time for SAARC’s annual summit. A number of welcome developments have taken place in South Asia since the last such meeting, so as to raise fresh hopes that SAARC might finally begin to fulfil its potential.

SARRC country profiles

Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka , People’s Republic of Bangladesh

South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation (SAARC): Second SAARC Youth Camp - 2008

It was way back in 1980 that the idea of the regional co-operation among the countries of South Asia were conceived as the imperialism of the west suppressed them.

30th Session of Council of SAARC Ministers

(Pictorial)

SAARC nod for Food Bank

The 15th SAARC Summit has placed food security high on its agenda with the promise of more state intervention including a SAARC Food Bank to help any Member State in case of exigencies.

Koirala to attend SAARC Summit

NEPAL: Decks were cleared for Nepal’s caretaker Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala to attend the SAARC Summit in Colombo after the veteran leader succeeded in placating the feuding parties, including Maoists, who had questioned his legitimacy to represent the country.

Economic agenda priority for SAARC: Nepal

Nepali Finance Minister Dr Ram Sharan Mahat yesterday said that the economic agenda will be given emphasis at the 15th South Asian Association Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit.

Economic integration and terrorism

ECONOMIC integration and combating terrorism, whether it be in the name of religion, ethnicity or the State, should be on the agenda of the SAARC summit beginning in the Sri Lanka capital, Colombo.

Priorities for SAARC Summit

Colombo, the capital city of Sri Lanka, has prepared itself to welcome the pivotal leaders of South Asian countries as SAARC summit is scheduled on August 2-3, 2008. This gathering of South Asian Head of the States/Governments is very important because of the volatile situation running through out the region.

Partnership of People and Saarc Summit

The expectations and aspirations that prompted the formation of SAARC about 23 years back need to be made a reality, creating an atmosphere of effective partnership among peoples of member states.

SAARC Country Profile

The Kingdom of Bhutan , Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal

SAARC stamp

The Philatelic Bureau of the Department of Posts will issue a new postage stamp (Rs. 15) and a First Day Cover, on August 2 to commemorate the 15th SAARC Summit in Colombo. This stamp has been designed by Miss. Anuruddhika Kobbekaduwa.

SAARC geared for firm action on several fronts

The ongoing 15th SAARC summit will mark the significant transformation of the regional organisation from the declaratory stage to the implementation stage after 23 years, Export Development and International Trade Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris said.

SAARC journalists’ summit begins today

The fourth SAARC journalists’ summit, the largest gathering of journalists in the region will be inaugurated at the Trans Asia Hotel in Colombo today.

Nepal parties seek new Govt before SAARC Summit

A day after the Cabinet gave the green signal to caretaker Prime Minister G P Koirala to represent the country at the SAARC Summit, the Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (UML) on Tuesday joined the Maoists in pressuring the veteran Nepali Congress leader not to attend the regional meet. The Maoists have already protested over the decision and demanded that a new Government be formed before the Colombo meet scheduled for August 2-3.

Call to strengthen SAARC communications links

On the occasion of the 15th SAARC Summit in Sri Lanka from the Commonwealth Business Council and SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Monday urged Heads of Government to strengthen communication links in the region.

Indo-Pakistan leaders may meet at SAARC

A meeting between Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani on the sidelines of the forthcoming Saarc Summit in Colombo cannot be ruled out though neither side has so far sought a meeting, officials here said Tuesday.

Realising the uniqueness of SAARC - A.P.J. Abdul KALAM

The various member states have core competencies that can be pooled together for mutual benefit. The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation represents 1.47 billion people, which is around 25 per cent of the world population.

The economic integration of SAARC

Economic growth today is a collective matter in a very significant way. Not even a nation, big or small, can think of going it alone anymore. In fact, the whole world has become so inter-linked that every event no matter how small or where it happens is having an instant worldwide effect.

Reviewing the SAARC process

The 15th summit of the SAARC has been scheduled to be held in Colombo, Sri Lanka from July 27 to August 3, 2008. Almost two decades after enunciation, the objectives in the Charter; despite some achievements in aggregate and discrete realms

SAARC Country Profiles

The Republic of India, Republic of Maldives

Formal pact on SAARC Development Fund

The agreement for setting up a SAARC Development Fund to provide financial assistance for the economic, social and infrastructure development of the SAARC Member Countries will be signed during the SAARC Heads of State Summit to be held from August 2 to 3 in Colombo.

SAARC Summit immensely beneficial - President

The SAARC Summit in Sri Lanka will bring immense benefits for the future well-being and the betterment of the country and its people, observed President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

SAARC Standing Committee begins deliberations today

The Standing Committee of the 15th SAARC summit constituting Foreign Secretaries of the eight Member States will commence deliberations today on the key issues to be taken up at the main Summit to be held from August 2 to 3.

SAARC leaders here on July 31, August 1

All Heads of State and Government of the eight SAARC nations will arrive in Sri Lanka on July 31 and August 1 to take part in the 15th SAARC Summit scheduled for August 2 to 3.

Sri Lanka Al-Futtaim's SAARC base

COLOMBO: Al- Futtaim Engineering, the Dubai based automotive retail, electronics and financial services conglomerate yesterday acquired a majority shareholding of Associated Motorways PLC, one of the biggest automotive companies in Sri Lanka.

SAARC Summit victory for entire nation - Minister Siyambalapitiya

The SAARC Summit will be a victory to the entire nation rather than a personal victory for President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Therefore, it will be an excellent opportunity for Sri Lanka to showcase its image before the international community, Minister of Finance and State Revenue Ranjith Siyambalapitiya said.

Indian, Pakistani leaders to meet during SAARC

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is likely to meet his Pakistani counterpart Yousaf Raza Gilani for the first time on the sidelines of the SAARC Summit in Colombo scheduled for Aug 2-3.

Bangladesh wants People's SAARC

Bangladesh will make efforts to represent the people during the upcoming South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit in Colombo, according to the Bangladesh foreign advisor.

Koirala to attend SAARC Summit

Girija Prasad Koirala, along with a 35-member delegation, would represent Nepal at the 15th SAARC Summit in Sri Lanka.

SAARC should declare 2009: ‘Year to fight Terrorism’

The stage is now set for the historic fifteenth SAARC Summit in Colombo. A tight security blanket is thrown around the city to ensure the safety of all eight leaders representing the respective nations. The security of all leaders is of paramount importance to the host country.

Realising SAARC’s true potential

The 15th SAARC Summit is taking on the proportions of an MGM production. Let us all hope that President Rajapaksa and his advisors undertake a reality check and use this opportunity for him to go down in history as the SAARC Chairman who transformed the organisation from a pious talk shop that does not comply with conventions and agreements

SAARC - ‘poor’ countries get together, but How poor are we, really?

The further you go into the past the lesser your chances of meeting the word poverty. This may come as a surprise to you, but that’s because you and I have been taught to look at the past as a dark, gloomy, dismal and altogether a primitive era compared to the state of enlightenment we are living in now.

SAARC Country Profiles

Islamic Republic of Afghanistan ,Islamic Republic of Pakistan

SAARC Summits crucial for regional development - JVP

SAARC Summits help develop political and cultural ties between the Member States, JVP Parliamentarian Vijitha Herath said yesterday. He said that regional cooperation is crucial in exchanging ideas to take forward the development activities.

SAARC meetings begin in Colombo: Terrorism, food security, energy top agenda

The 15th SAARC Summit which got off the ground in Colombo yesterday is set to adopt a series of measures with the main focus on a joint approach to combating terrorism, maximising energy and water resources, food security, poverty alleviation in addition to several other key issues concerning the region.

Top medical care for SAARC participants

COLOMBO: The Healthcare and Nutrition Ministry has made arrangements to provide top medical care for delegates and participants of the SAARC Conference in collaboration with the Medical Service Departments of Army, Navy, Air Force and the Police, a Ministry spokesman said.

SAARC cultural events

A host of cultural events reflecting the diverse cultural facets of the SAARC region will be held to coincide with the 15th SAARC Summit in Colombo.

SAARC Youth Camp begins today

The third SAARC Youth Camp will be held from July 28th - August 1 at the National Youth Centre Maharagama in view of the 15th SAARC Summit.

CIMA partner of SAARC apex bodies initiative

The SAARC CCCI, SAARC Law, and SAFA, under the patronage of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, have organised a conference on the theme “Enterprise Governance and Social Responsibility” to coincide with the SAARC Summit in August.

Four High Security zones for SAARC Summit

A special security operation will come into effect in Colombo and in the Kotte area from today from 9 a.m. to 12 noon and from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. as a prelude to the main SAARC Summit scheduled to be held during the next few days, Police media spokesman, SSP Ranjith Gunesekera told the Sunday Observer.

SLTB shuttle bus services during SAARC Summit

The SLTB will operate a shuttle bus service from the Bambalapitiya railway station to the Fort during the SAARC Summit from July 30 to August 4.

Handicraft exhibition to coincide with SAARC

A handicraft exhibition will be held at the Colombo National Art Gallery from July 29 to August 2 to coincide with the 15th SAARC Summit in Colombo.

SAARC Agreement to combat regional terrorism

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Rohitha Bogollagama yesterday denied allegations that the funds allocated for the 15th SAARC summit were not used wisely.

Vibrant foreign policy through multiple engagements

Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama in an exclusive interview with Sunday Observer outlined the unique opportunities the SAARC will offer for Sri Lanka as Sri Lanka chairs the regional body and the successful campaign that Sri Lankan missions have been engaged in countering LTTE’s propaganda at international level as well as support the missions enlisted in the areas of trade, investments and bilateral cooperation between many nations of the world.

SAARC - for sustaining regional collaboration

Bangladeshi President Ziaur Rahman made the first proposal for regional cooperation in May 1980 emphasising the need to evolve international realities.

How best could South Asia expedite its integration with the world economy: Expanding SAARC Horizons to Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)

‘A comprehensive study on the South Asian Episode of Economic Liberalization enabling South Asia to integrate with the world economy has been proved that Sri Lanka is not far from reaching great economic heights.

SAARC Summit will have positive impact on country’s image and tourism

Despite the loss to hotels in the city, the SAARC Summit will have a positive impact on the image of the country and tourism, said President, Tourist Hotels Association of Sri Lanka, (THASL) Srilal Miththapala.

Foreign policy and SAARC

The foreign policy of a country is a set of rules that seeks to outline the behaviour of a particular country and how it interacts with other countries and international organisations. This mainly depends on internal external, political, and the “Global political and economic” considerations.

PM to lead Nepali delegation

Nepali Foreign Secretary Gyan Chandra Acharya has said that the prime minister will lead Nepali delegation for the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit.

12,000 Police contingent for SAARC security

SAARC security arrangements will be in effect from today with Police deploying 12,000 personnel in addition to a strong presence of Army, Navy and Air Force personnel.

Traffic scheme for SAARC Summit

From July 25, vehicles and people entering the high security zone will be subjected to thorough security checks. Vehicles entering the zone will need to obtain passes. No Vehicles will be allowed to the high security zone at all from July 29.

SAARC facelift for Colombo

The work of giving a facelift to Colombo City prior to the 15th the SAARC summit has reached its final stage.

SAARC Friendship Village in Nawalapitiya

President Mahinda Rajapaksa will ceremonially open the Nawalapitiya SAARC Friendship Village on July 27.

SAARC chairmanship would bring many dividends to SL - Foreign Minister

Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama yesterday told Parliament Sri Lanka obtaining the chairmanship of SAARC will facilitate further strengthening of regional cooperation among SAARC countries based on Sri Lanka’s own agenda.

All set for productive Summit in Colombo - SAARC parley to showcase Lanka’s resilience against terror, Eastern resurgence

The forthcoming 15th SAARC summit will showcase to the entire world Sri Lanka’s resilience against terrorism and the country’s vibrant democracy, Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama said yesterday.

Fourth SAARC Journalists' Summit

The fourth SAARC Journalists' Summit will be held in Colombo from July 29 to August 1.

SAARC opening new vistas for Lanka - Opposition attempting to gain political mileage by undermining SAARC

The UPFA charged yesterday that both the UNP and the JVP were engaged in an attempt to undermine the forthcoming SAARC summit as a tactic to gain cheap political mileage in the face of impending PC elections.

SAARC ideal opportunity for Lanka to showcase its image - JVP

The SAARC summit is an ideal opportunity for Sri Lanka to showcase its good image while silently giving a clear picture to the world that the country is calm and tranquil for tourism and investment, JVP Parliamentarian Anura Kumara Dissanayake said on Friday.

Rs. 274 million SAARC face-lift for Colombo

Colombo is to get a face-lift for the SAARC Summit and according to Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) Mayor Imythias Mohamed, the project is to be completed before Friday (25).

SAARC Summit to bring immense benefits - Information and Media Minister

The SAARC Summit will be of immense benefit to all countries in the region, especially Sri Lanka which holds and enjoys extremely good bilateral relationships with all SAARC countries,

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