SAARC nations sign energy deal at summit

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Kathmandu, Nov 27: In a face saver, SAARC countries on Thursday signed a framework agreement on cooperation in power sector but failed to finalise the much-awaited motor vehicle and railway pacts for greater people-to-people contact and movement of goods due to opposition from Pakistan.

There were hectic efforts to pursue the Pakistani side, which stalled the inking of the pacts on the pretext that internal processes were not completed following which three months' time was set for getting approval.


The disappointment over failure to sign the pacts was visible among the Nepalese leaders who were trying very hard to make the summit a "success".

The framework energy pact will enable cooperation in the power sector among the eight member countries and facilitate integrated operation of the regional power grid. Pakistan's opposition to connectivity pacts came notwithstanding strong push by all member countries to have these pacts for greater transport links in the region.

"A time period of three months have been set for approval to the Motor Vehicle and Railway pacts," Nepal's Prime Minister Sushil Koirala, who is also the SAARC chair, said in his address at the concluding session of the 18th summit of the regional grouping.

Diplomats said the agreements have discussed at various senior levels and there had been no objection from any country and earlier no one had indicated that they needed approvals of their internal processes.


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