Monday, January 7, 2002, Chandigarh, India 


M A I N   N E W S

SAARC summit calls for end to terrorism
Tribune News Service

SAARC leaders at the concluding ceremony of the 11th SAARC summit
SAARC leaders at the concluding ceremony of the 11th SAARC summit in Kathmandu on Sunday. — PTI photo

Kathmandu, January 6
The 11th SAARC summit concluded here today with the seven member states of the grouping calling for the urgent conclusion of a Comprehensive Convention on Combating International Terrorism and conducting international cooperation in ending this scourge in conformity with the UN Charter, international law and relevant conventions.

Reiterating their support to the UN Security Council Resolution 1373, the declaration adopted unanimously expressed the member states’ determination to redouble efforts to suppress terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.

The leaders reaffirmed that the fight against terrorism in all its forms and manifestations had to be “comprehensive and sustained.” The leaders stressed that special measures must be taken for safeguarding the sovereign independence and territorial integrity of small states. Real security and protection of small states should be firmly rooted in the scrupulous adherence to the UN Charter and the rule of law.

They urged the international community to deal effectively with the adverse economic effects of terrorism in general and to meet the rising insurance and security-related costs in particular.

They agreed to accelerate the enactment of an enabling legislation within a definite time frame for the full implementation of the Convention together with strengthening the grouping’s Terrorist Offences and Drug Offences Monitoring Desks in an effective manner.

In ringing down the curtain on the 11th SAARC summit, Nepal’s Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba described it as a “major step” that the grouping had resumed its task after a gap of three years and spoke about the determination of the leaders to develop regional synergy and act positively in the economic, social and other spheres besides dealing effectively with the serious threat posed to peace and security in South Asian:

“Deepening trust and cooperation is a must for prosperity in South Asia,” he observed.

The 56-para SAARC Kathmandu Declaration focused on economic cooperation, poverty alleviation, paying special attention to the social and cultural sectors and women and children, education, the international political and economic environment, security of small states and people-to-people contacts.

Emphasis was laid on accelerating cooperation in core areas of trade, finance and investment for realising the goal of an integrated South economy and maximising the benefits of globalisation and liberalisation as well as minimising their negative impacts on the region.

The Heads of State or Government recognised the importance of creating a free-trade area which must incorporate binding time frames for freeing trade and measures to ensure equitable distribution of benefits to all and especially the small and least developed countries.

On the South Asian Free-Trade Area (SAFTA), directions were given to the Council of Ministers to finalise the text of the Draft Treaty framework by the end of 2002.

On poverty alleviation, the declaration called for combating this problem with a new sense of urgency by promoting partnerships among national governments, international agencies, the private sector and the civil society.

It underlined the need for giving a fillip to micro credit with special accent on women and the disadvantaged sections of society. All leaders welcomed the SAARC Convention on Preventing and Combating Trafficking in Women and Children and Promotion of Child Welfare.

Referring to the international political and economic environment, the declaration called for intensified coordination among the SAARC member states on all World Trade Organisation (WTO) issues. SAARC missions in Geneva were advised to intensify coordination to advance the common interests of the region at the fifth WTO Ministerial Conference.

Expressing the vote of thanks, Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf said if there were impediments “known to all of us, there can be no durable peace in South Asia and cooperation among SAARC countries will remain an elusive dream.” He hoped violence and the use of force would be eradicated from the region so that peace and harmony prevailed. He looked forward to the 12th SAARC summit in Pakistan early next year and said the Council of Ministers would be finalising the dates.Back

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