Saarc members to discuss role of observer states

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu

Aug 26, 2014-

The eight member states of Saarc are holding discussions on engagement with nine observer states.

Currently, Australia, China, European Union, Iran, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mauritius, Myanmar and the US are observers in the regional organisation.

During 15th summit in Colombo, the member states had agreed and approved the guidelines for cooperation with observers. The summit had also decided to impose a moratorium on the admission of new observers.

With the observer’s growing interest, the organisation has decided to create a demarcation on what kind of support it should accept, said an official privy to the Saarc process.

A four-day meeting is scheduled to be held from August 29 in Kathmandu to discuss the rational and role of observers’ engagement as well as the future of 11 Saarc regional centers. Sources said China is seeking dialogue partner status in Saarc as the country already has similar arrangement with Asean. However, no decision has been taken on the matter. China has extended assistance worth US $ 2 million for Saarc to execute various projects. Likewise, South Korea has been offering various courses for officials at Saarc Secretariat and Japan as well as the EU too are keen to assist the regional grouping. “However, we do not have clear benchmark to accept such support. That’s why the Saarc may come up with some concrete ideas on this issue this time,” an official said.

“The Saarc secretariat has prepared a report after consultations with the member states by evaluating the activities of the regional centres. We will make a final call on the issue based on the report,” said a Nepali official who will attend the meeting.

Published: 27-08-2014 10:25

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