Colombo, August 3 : The 15th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit concluded in Colombo on Sunday condemning terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.
In a joint declaration issued at the end of the summit, leaders of the region expressed deep concern over the serious threat posed by terrorism to peace, stability and security of the region.
The declaration drew attention to the growing linkages between the terrorism, narco-traffic, illegal traffic of fire arms and persons.
The declaration underscored the need to address these problems in a comprehensive manner. Accordingly the leaders reiterated their commitment to strengthen the legal regime against terrorism.
The declaration said that the member nations resolved to implement all international conventions relating to combating terrorism.
Then summit emphasized the need to consolidate and ensure effective implementation of SAARC programmes and mechanisms.
The leaders emphasized the importance of maintaining the momentum of the 'incremental progress' of the movement over the years especially since last years summit in New Delhi.
To keep the expectations of SAARC to be a partnership for growth, the regional grouping must be truly 'people centric', the declaration observed.
The leaders felt that an effective and economic telecommunication regime is essential for connectivity and thus encouraging people-centric partnerships.
The connectivity has to be not only within the region but also with the rest of the world, the declaration added.
The declaration expressed satisfaction over the signing of the Charter of SAARC Development Fund (SDF) and finalization of its bye-laws. It called upon the member nations for early ratification of the SDF.
The declaration reiterated the commitment of the member nations to implement South Asia Free Trade Area (SAFTA) in letter and spirit so as to enable the grouping to contribute to the dynamic process Asia's emergence as powerhouse of the world.
Stating that increased access to energy was critical for growth the leaders recognized the need to expeditiously develop and conserve the conventional sources of energy. It also urged the member countries to builds up renewable alternate energy sources.
Earlier Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh in his speech on the opening session on Saturday had urged the member countries to jointly fight against the menace of terrorism, which he had described as 'the single biggest threat to stability in the region'.
The SAARC leaders this morning proceeded for a retreat at the Parliament House complex located at Jayawardenapura, in the outskirts of Colombo. By Naveen Kapoor