Pranab calls for a convention on criminal matters in SAARC region

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New Delhi, July 24 : External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee today said that India would push for a convention on mutual legal assistance among the SAARC nations over criminal matters.

Speaking at a regional conference on 'Deepening South Asian Economicntegration' here, Pranab said that in the backdrop of the recent Kabul attack on the Indian embassy, it has become necessary to tackle crimes with regional cooperation.

"The recent bomb blast in Kabul that targeted our embassy emphasizes how vulnerable South Asian continent could be to terrorism. We have initiated discussions on the draft of convention of mutual legal assistance in criminal matters. This will enable us to implement action against such crimes in the neighbourhood with regional co-operation," said Mukherjee.

A suicide attack on the Indian embassy on July 7 killed more than 50 and injured 140 others.

Mukherjee added that he hopes that discussions would be finalised during the forthcoming SAARC summit in Colombo.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the seminar about the controversial Indo-US civil nuclear deal, the Minister said that New Delhi is waiting to clear the next hurdle.

"First, we shall have to get the approval of the Board of Governors of IAEA for India specific safeguards agreement. I understand that the meeting of the Board of Governors is scheduled on August 1. If we get the approval of the Board of Governors in respect to India specific safeguards agreement, then it will be taken up to the Nuclear Suppliers Group. Exact time frame is difficult to give, but we do hope, we will get the support of the countries," said Mukherjee.

ANI

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