Regional meet preparations almost over: Government

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu

Nov 11, 2014-

The main preparation committee for the 18th Saarc Summit headed by Prime Minister Sushil Koirala has concluded that around 95 percent of the works have been completed.

At an assessment meeting  on Tuesday, PM Koirala urged all concerned stakeholders to put in efforts to make the event a success as it associated with the country’s prestige.

“Our experience of successfully conducting two summits in the past is very instrumental this time around. After this summit, we have to host the fourth BIMSTEC Summit as well. So we have to move ahead keeping all these events in mind,” Koirala reportedly told the authorities.

Likewise, Foreign Affairs Minister Mahendra Bahadur Pandey briefed about the substantive part of the summit. He said all member and observer states of the regional organisation have received formal invitation from Nepal government and have assured of their participation in the summit. He said all head of states and governments and representatives from the observer nations will arrive in Kathmandu before November 26.

Three separate memorandum of understanding on energy, road connectivity and motor vehicles will be signed during the meeting while Nepal and India will also sign some bilateral agreements in the sidelines of the summit, Pandey said in the meeting.

According to a press statement issued by the Prime Minister’s private secretariat, Physical Infrastructure and Transport Management Minister Bimalendra Nidhi briefed on progress made on road maintenance and said the ongoing works will be completed within a week.

At the meeting, Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Bam Dev Gautam said at the meeting that preparations regarding planning and deployment of security personnel and resource allocation have been completed.

Likewise, Finance Minister Ram Sharan Mahat said that Rs 1 billion has been released for the summit preparations, including the renovation of City Hall and Gallery Hall, road expansion and managing vehicles and other logistics. He said the ministry will release additional Rs 340 million soon. The government has allocated Rs 1.51 billion for the summit.

Meanwhile, speaking at a press meet at the Reporters’ Club Nepal, Pandey said the summit will focus on installing durable peace and prosperity in South Asia and prioritising regional unity. The theme of the summit is “Deeper integration for peace and prosperity”, he said.

According to Pandey, the summit in its Kathmandu declaration will pledge to eradicate illiteracy in the region by 2030, stress on quality education, end violence against women, create employment opportunities for youths, and call for ending all forms of terrorism.

He said a separate centre to look after natural calamities, environment and climate change will be announced during the summit. “A special attention will be paid to implement past accords and agreements,” he said.

Similarly, talking to media persons in the Capital on Tuesday, Saarc Secretary General Arjun Bahadur Thapa said that the summit will be historic as both the prime ministers from India and Pakistan will participate in the summit.

He said the summit will merge some ineffective regional centres and change the regional organisation’s charter to hold its summit every two years.

Officials visit Janakpur, Lumbini

KATHMANDU: A high-level security team under Army General Pawan Bahadur Pande on Tuesday completed inspection visits of Lumbini, Janakpur and Muktinath--the venues proposed for visit by Indian Prime Minister Narenda Modi during the 18th Saarc Summit.

During the visit, local security officials in Dhanusha, Rupandehi and Mustang districts made the presentation on security arrangements for Indian PM Modi’s scheduled visit there, said an official of the visiting assessment team.

The security team also included AIG of Nepal Police, Ganesh Raj Rai and DIG Devendra Subedi, AIGs of Armed Police Force Singha Bahadur Shrestha and Prem Kumar Shai and Under Secretary at Home Ministry Ganga Bahadur Chettri, among others.

Local officials at Dhaunasha told the inspection team that they had made all necessary arrangements to secure the area for Modi’s visit. The Indian prime minister could directly land at Barha Bigha Maidan in Jankapur and visit the Ram-Janaki temple. But it is not yet clear if he would travel on foot or make a trip on a vehicle to the temple, said the officials.

“The local security officials have convinced us about the security situation in all three places. We we are also confident that we can provide a full-proof security arrangement in the Capital and outside,” said an official, insisiting anonimity.

Modi is planning to visit Janakpur and address the public a day before the summit would take off on Nov 26. He is scheduled to offer worship at the Muktinath temple the next day, followed by a visit to Lumbini with another public address before leaving to New Delhi.

Published: 12-11-2014 09:24

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