Gilani enroute to Saarc summit


Afp/express April 26, 2010

ISLAMABAD:

The prime minister was in Nepal on a stopover from where he will fly to Bhutan to attend the SAARC Summit scheduled for April 28th and April 29th.


The prime minister met his Nepalese counterpart Madhav Kumar in Khatmandu. He also met the Nepalese President Dr Ram Baran Yadav.


Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani said he was unaware of any meeting arranged with his Indian counterpart Dr Manmohan Singh at the 16th summit of countries of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) in Thimphu, Bhutan.

However, Express reported that the meeting is being arranged on the sidelines of the summit. Both leaders will discuss the issue of Composite Dialogue Process besides other major issues between the two countries.

The Prime Minister is also expected to hold bilateral meetings with his counterparts as well as representatives of Observer States.

Federal Ministers Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, A Rehman Malik, Khursheed Shah, Manzoor Wattoo, Maulana Attaur Rehman, Ghulam Ahmed Bilour, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Tariq Majid, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Noman Bashir and Chief of Air Staff Rao Qamar Suleman saw off the Prime Minister at the Chaklala Air Base.

Talking to mediamen before leaving, the Prime Minister said the SAARC leaders will take up the agenda already mutually agreed during the secretary level talks. He said food security is an important issue for the region and the leaders will take up the matter where they left it off at the last summit.

At Pakistan's initiative, Colombo Statement on food security was adopted during the 15th SAARC Summit in 2008. The Prime Minister will urge upon the Heads of State or Government to ensure region-wide food security. Pakistan had also introduced the concept of Energy Ring in South Asia which became the vision of SAARC leaders for the attainment of energy security.

The Prime Minister said his meetings with the SAARC leaders will be scheduled soon. Pakistan favours SAARC linkages with Observers and international institutions to promote project-based development cooperation.

The heads of state and government of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are attending the Summit. Representatives from the observer states will also beparticipating in the Summit.

Currently China, Iran, Japan, SouthKorea, Mauritius, Myanmar, Australia, United States and European Union are Observers.

Prime Minister Gilani will have night stay at Khatmandu, Nepal on his way to Bhutan. The Summit will adopt a declaration titled "Towards a Greenand Happy South Asia", which will focus on the problems relating toenvironment and climate change.

During the summit, the Secretariat of SAARC Development Fund will also be inaugurated. Pakistan has played a constructive role to make SAARC a viable organization for regional cooperation, based on the principles of sovereign equality.

The Foreign Office spokesman said, "We believe that the SAARC can serve as a platform to build economic synergies and transformthe quality of life of the peoples of South Asia."

During the summit, the Prime Minister will highlight important issues like matters relating to poverty alleviation, energycooperation, water conservation, interaction in agriculture and rural development, cooperation on promotion of welfare of women and children and development of better health facilities for the peoples of South Asia.

COMMENTS (2)

Seher Naqvi | 11 years ago | Reply One more trip to prove we are no good at getting our way. Observer states will have more power.
Nadir El Edroos | 11 years ago | Reply What exactly is Maulana Ataur Rehman doing in a diplomatic delegation?
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