A meeting of officials of South Asian countries began here on Sunday, after an unprecedented crackdown on stray dogs ahead of the SAARC summit early next month.
A foreign ministry official said that the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) commenced its meeting, with Sri Lanka taking the chair from India.
Grace Asirwatham, director general of SAARC and the foreign ministry’s South Asia wing, took charge of the 33rd session of the Programming Committee from Indian joint secretary Kheya Battachariya.
The Sunday meeting will be followed by a meeting of council of ministers from July 31 and August 1.
Meanwhile, authorities have unleashed a major crackdown on stray dogs in the vicinity of the summit venue. One official said the foreign ministry wants a “dog-free zone”.
On Saturday, Colombo Municipal Council workers, acting on a request from Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama, rounded up 24 stray dogs. They would be be released after the summit.