Meeting to set agenda for SAARC summit begins in Kathmandu

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Kathmandu, Nov 22: A day-long joint secretary-level meeting began here on Saturday to set the agenda for the 18th SAARC Summit and give final touches to the Kathmandu Declaration.

"Joint secretaries of the respective foreign ministries of the member states will participate in the meeting and discuss various SAARC related agendas," Nepal's Foreign Minister Mahendra Bahadur Pandey said on Friday.

Agenda for SAARC Summit set

The 49th session of the SAARC Programming Committee, if needed, will rewrite, adjust, or add value to the Kathmandu Declaration that has already been forwarded to the member states, Pandey added.

Stressing implementation of the past pacts and accords, the proposed 32-point Kathmandu Declaration talks about deeper integration among the member states for peace and prosperity.

The inputs of the SAARC Programming Committee will be forwarded to a foreign secretary level meeting, also called the SAARC Standing Committee, which will look into the declaration or polish it and look at other agendas of the regional grouping.

The standing committee meeting is slated for Nov 23 and 24.

Standing committee meeting is slated for Nov 23 and 24

The 36th session of the SAARC Council of Ministers scheduled for Nov 25 will add the policy level inputs, if any, as recommended by the secretary level meeting and give the final shape to the declaration.

The summit meeting at heads of the state level will take place Nov 26.

On Nov 27, a retreat to Dhulikhel, about 30 km from the capital Kathmandu, will be organised for the visiting heads of state and governments to hold bilateral and multilateral talks.

"We have made enough preparation for VIPs to spend quality time with each other to deepen mutual trust," said Pandey.

After spending over two hours in Dhulikhel, the visiting delegates will return to the summit venue for the closing session which will also see adoption of the Kathmandu Declaration.

IANS

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