17th SAARC summit concludes with resolve to combat terrorism, promote regional cooperation

Nov 11, Addu, Maldives: The leaders of the eight South Asian nations wrapped up two days of meetings and discussions today in Addu city of Maldives reaching a series of agreements to promote regional cooperation and combat terrorism to uplift the region.

The 17th South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit under the theme “Building Bridges” ended today with the host Maldivian President Mohammed Nasheed announcing the ‘fruitful decisions’ made during the summit.

The SAARC member countries have agreed that the SAARC Ministerial Council will work on reducing non-tariff barriers and to reduce the sensitive list to promote trade in the region.

SAARC nations have also agreed to direct the finance ministers to produce a proposal to allow more financial flows and investments, the Maldivian President said.

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa in his address at the opening ceremony of the SAARC Summit called on the South Asian leaders to take immediate action on issues important to the region to reach out to higher levels of achievement for the benefit of the South Asian nations.

The South Asian leaders have agreed to reach an agreement on the Rapid Response to Natural Disasters and agreed to initiate work on combating maritime piracy in the region.

The leaders called for an early conclusion of the UN Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism and conclusion of the ratification of the SAARC convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters.

They have also pledged to take measures to combat the illegal narcotic drug trade across the region.

The Summit concluded with the adoption of Addu Declaration which is jointly adopted by the eight SAARC member countries. The Declaration reaffirms their commitment to peace, confidence building, liberty, human dignity, democracy, mutual respect, good governance and human rights.

(Photos by Sudath Silva)

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