Terrorism, disaster mitigation to dominate Saarc meet

Kathmandu, Jan 28 | Updated: Jan 29 2005, 08:24am hrs
Combating terrorism, disaster management and economic integration would be the major issues to be discussed during the Saarc summit in Dhaka next month. Economic integration of the South Asian region, poverty alleviation, combating terrorism and rehabilitation of the victims of the devastating tidal wave that lashed the Indian Ocean on December 26 will dominate the regional summit to be held from February 6-7, envoys of the seven Saarc countries said on Friday at an interaction programme here.

Preparations for the summit are almost complete and Dhaka is ready to welcome the Saarc delegations during the two-day summit, Bangladesh ambassador to Nepal Humayun Kabir said. The issue of terrorism has been a matter of concern for almost all member saarc countries, he said adding the forthcoming summit will ratify the additional protocol to the convention on suppression of terrorism.

The summit will ratify the additional protocol on terrorism as the supplement to the Saarc convention on suppression of terrorism, which will be a significant step in fighting terrorism, Indian ambassador to Nepal Shiv Shanker Mukherjee said. India has ratified both the convention on suppression of terrorism in 1987 and the additional protocol on terrorism in 2004, he recalled. He also informed that India has offered to establish the Saarc centre for disaster management in Delhi which will deal with the regional planning for disaster management and welcomed Pakistans proposal to establish an early warning information system on disaster.

Pakistan ambassador to Nepal Zamir Akram said Saarc is an indispensable organisation to promote peace, progress and stability in the South Asian region. It can help in confidence building mechanism. pointing out the tsunami disaster caused much devastation in the region due to the lack of early warning system, Sri Lankan ambassador Grace A Asirwatham said there was need for a regional mechanism to collectively deal with the disaster management and early warning system to reduce such catastrophe in future.

The summit originally scheduled for January 9-11 was postponed following the devastating tsunami disaster that struck Asian countries, including three Saarc members - Maldives, Sri Lanka and India. other members of the regional grouping include Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan.

All Saarc countries are facing the problem of terrorism and the menace has posed greater threat for the countries of the region, Asirwatham noted.