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SAARC Standing Committee discusses terrorism, energy, poverty

SAARC Standing Committee discusses terrorism energy poverty Top diplomats of the eight-member Saarc grouping in Kathmandu on Sunday discussed cooperation on a range of issues like combating terrorism, poverty alleviation, energy security and climate change.

Foreign Secretary Sujata Singh and other top diplomats met at the 41st meeting of Saarc Standing Committee ahead of the 18th Saarc Summit scheduled from November 25 to 27. Representatives from the South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (Saarc) nations – Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, along with observers from nine other countries will take part in the summit.

Foreign secretaries from all SAARC member states are attending the meeting.

The Standing Committee Meeting was opened by Ali Naseer Mohamed, Chair of the Standing Committee and the Leader of the Delegation from the Maldives.

The meeting elected Shanker Das Bairagi, Acting Foreign Secretary and the Leader of the Nepalese delegation, as the Chairman of the Committee.

“As terrorism in all its forms and manifestations has remained a formidable challenge for our region, coordinated and concerted efforts are required to tackle the situation,” said Bairagi.

“Though poverty alleviation has remained a major agenda of the SAARC for decades, a quarter of our people still lives in poverty and hunger despite our consistent efforts. Redoubling of our efforts is absolutely necessary to eradicate poverty and hunger from the regional landscape.

“As this region is suffering from acute energy deficit, we can make tremendous progress through meaningful cooperation in this sector,” said Bairagi.