Print Edition - 2016-01-30 | News
Ministers’ meet in March
Jan 30, 2016-Nepal is set to host the Saarc Mini Summit in mid-March.
The Saarc Mini Summit will be attended by foreign ministers of Saarc member states-- Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a meeting of Saarc Council of Ministers at the foreign minister level will take place on March 17 in Kathmandu.
Meetings of the Saarc Standing Committee at foreign secretary level and Programming Committee at the joint secretary level will precede the foreign ministers’ meeting on March 14 and March 15.
Nepal is the current chair of the regional bloc and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Kamal Thapa will chair the meeting at the foreign minister level.
“Almost all regional issues will be discussed,” said Tara Pokhrel, Spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, adding: “Some more issues are likely to land on the table.”
The meeting, also known as inter-summit of Saarc, is generally held half-way between the two Saarc summits.
The 18th Saarc Summit was held in Kathmandu in November 2014. Pakistan is set to host the 19th Summit in November this year.
The Saarc inter-summit in March will assess and review the progress made in Saarc and set the tone for the upcoming Summit.
Despite successfully hosting the 18th Summit, experts have blamed Nepal for doing little when it comes to making progress in the Saarc progress as the chair of the regional bloc.
Months after Nepal hosted the Saarc Summit, the country was hit by a devastating earthquake on April 25.
The quake though prompted Nepal’s ever bickering political parties to come together to draft the constitution, which was delayed by almost eight years, the promulgation of the new charter stoked discontent among sections of society, with intensified protests in the Tarai plains. Hence, much of the time and energy has to be invested in managing domestic politics.
The Saarc foreign ministers’ meeting in March will also make some necessary instruction to senior officials to implement the various declarations of the previous years.
Pokhrel said that foreign ministers and foreign secretaries from all Saarc members have confirmed their participation.
The meeting will focus on implementing the 36-point Kathmandu Declaration that covers several areas, including trade, commerce, investment, combating terrorism, connectivity, energy cooperation, labour and migration issues.
In the absence of a dedicated foreign minister from Pakistan, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s foreign affairs adviser Sartaj Aziz will participate in the meeting.
The member states, however, are yet to agree on the draft of Saarc agreement on promotion and protection of investments, regional agreement on motor vehicles and regional agreement on railways.
Standing Committee and Programming Committee meetings will precede
foreign ministers’ meet
in Kathmandu in March
Published: 30-01-2016 09:42