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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2347

SAARC Foreign Ministers resolved to Combat Terrorism take measures to Economic Crisis in the region

Colombo, 01 March, (Asiantribune.com): The just concluded 31st session of the SAARC Council of Ministers, SAARC Member States and Senior Officials concentrated on two major issues that warranted their serious and immediate attention – combating terrorism and the global economic crisis and ways to end it in the region.

Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama when briefing the media personnel said heeding to the call of the Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the Council of Ministers ably assisted by the Foreign Secretaries of SAARC Member States and Senior Officials, adopted two important documents, namely, "The SAARC Ministerial Declaration on Cooperation in Combating Terrorism” and the statement on Global Economic Crisis."

Sri Lankan Foreign Minister pointed out that "The Declaration on Cooperation in Combating Terrorism is significant for the region. It reiterates and re-emphasizes the common and collective resolve of all SAARC Member States to work together to eliminate the scourge of terrorism from our region. You would also observe agreement voiced in the Declaration to consider the development of an integrated border management mechanism. This is the first occasion on which such agreement has been voiced by Member States.

We also decided to establish a High-Level Group of Eminent Experts to review and make proposals to further strengthen the SAARC anti-terrorism mechanisms, including for pragmatic cooperation."

When briefing the media personnel he said, "The important meeting of the SAARC Council of Ministers took place at the mid-point of Sri Lanka’s chairmanship of SAARC. As you are aware, the Council of Ministers is Charter bound to meet at least twice a year to formulate policies, to review progress of cooperation, take decisions on new areas of cooperation, and establish additional mechanisms in line with the objectives and the goals of SAARC. We now work more and more as a family and take quick decisions in the interest of our Region in friendship, supporting each other."

The Minister when speaking on the Global Economic Crisis said that it is of special significance as it projects the collective view of SAARC Member States on this current issue of critical concern for the region. We agreed that the Global Economic Crisis affects both developed and developing countries including in the region.

He added that the special stimulus packages are needed to cushion the impact of the crisis. We referred in the statement to both regional and global measures that need to be explored in seeking solutions to the crisis. While recognizing the need to strengthen intra-regional trade we agreed to develop mechanisms to create bilateral arrangements in the region to address short-term liquidity difficulties and to supplement international financing arrangements. We also called on multilateral agencies such as World Bank and ADB as well as development partners to consider a moratorium on repayment of debt.

Minister Rohitha Bogollagama said, "Apart from considering these two important current issues of concern for the Region, the Council reviewed and assessed progress in the implementation of the decisions of the 15th SAARC Summit in Colombo and renewed commitment to the comprehensive realization of the vision enumerated by the Leaders of Member States in Colombo last August.

"We considered several Reports of SAARC ministerial meetings including the Meeting of SAARC Ministers of Science and Technology, Energy, and Agriculture. We also took up for consideration matters relating to Economic Cooperation, implementation of SAFTA, reducing the sensitive lists and the SAARC Agreement on Trade in Services. Issues pertaining to the SAARC Development Fund; Operationalization of the SAARC Food Bank Board; and the Action Plan on Poverty Alleviation and SAARC Developed Goals were also discussed.

"The Council also took up for consideration, matters related to the SAARC Award and SAARC Youth Award. As recommended by the Selection Committee of the SAARC Youth Award 2008, the Council conferred the Award on the theme “From Himalayan Glaciers to verdant plains to coral reefs – protecting the environment of South Asia” upon Ms. Uswatta Arachchige Deepani Jayantha of Sri Lanka last evening.

The Council decided that the theme for the SAARC Youth Award 2009 would be – “Outstanding contribution to humanitarian work in the aftermath of Natural Disasters”; and authorized the Secretary General to initiate the process of selection for the Award.
As you are aware, the SAARC Programming Committee consisting Senior Officials and the Standing Committee consisting Foreign Secretaries also met before the Meeting of the Council of Ministers. They took several decisions with regard to implementing SAARC programmes and activities as directed by our Heads of State and Government. "

- Asian Tribune -

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