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SAARC endorses US, Korea as its observers

Written by: Staff
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Dhaka, Apr 11 (UNI) The SAARC Standing Committee today unanimously decided to grant the US and Korea the ''Observer status'' of SAARC.

''We have responded positively to the applications moved by the US and Korea seeking Observer status of SAARC,'' Foreign Secretary Hemayetuddin told reporters at the end of the fifth special session of the SAARC Standing Committee attended by Foreign Secretaries of all member states.

The standing committee also finalised the draft of the Joint declaration to be signed by Afghanistan for its induction as a permanent member of SAARC as well as framed guidelines for Observer status to China and Japan.

The SAARC Council of Ministers expecting to meet here on July 18 will approve the draft of the Joint Declaration and the guidelines.

Afghanistan will join the next SAARC summit to be held in India in 2007 as its full-time member while China and Japan as Observers.

In reply to a question, Mr Hemayetuddin said the SAARC Charter would not require to be amended for the induction of Afghanistan into the originally seven-member forum.

Mr Hemayetuddin further said the Standing Committee also approved the draft of ''SAARC Vision- 2005-2015'' after certain amendments. It will also be placed for the approval of the Council of Ministers in July.

Besides, the special session discussed various reform proposals for strengthening the SAARC Secretariat and Regional Centers to make the institutions more action-oriented.

The two-day session ended today because of completing the agenda efficiently.

UNI XC DKS MSJ RAI2117

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