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Saarc committee meets to set agenda for Kathmandu summit

Senior diplomats of all eight member countries began meeting here on Saturday to set the agenda ahead of the 18th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) summit in Nepal.

world Updated: Nov 22, 2014 21:37 IST
Utpal Parashar

Senior diplomats of all eight member countries began meeting here on Saturday to set the agenda ahead of the 18th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) summit in Nepal.

Joint secretaries from foreign and external affairs ministries of member states are holding a day-long programming committee meeting to discuss issues to be included in the two-day summit meeting beginning on November 26.

"There was discussion on the decision to merge 11 regional Saarc centres and reduce their number to five," said Nepal's foreign ministry spokesperson Khaga Nath Adhikari.

There were also deliberations to decide the location of the proposed disaster and environment management centre to be set up in the region.

Saturday's meeting also reviewed decisions taken by the programming committee of the 17th Saarc summit and will formulate a calendar of activities for the regional body for next year.

The Indian delegation to Saturday's meeting was led by Ajay M. Gondane, joint secretary, ministry of external affairs.

The programming committee meeting will be followed by the two-day standing committee meeting beginning Sunday where foreign secretaries of all member nations will fine tune the agenda and the Kathmandu Declaration.

Foreign and external affairs ministers would meet on November 25 before heads of states of Saarc nations take part in the summit meeting beginning November 26.

"Besides the summit meeting heads of states of member states will also be able to meet each other in an open and informal manner at the retreat organized in Dhulikhel," said Nepal's foreign minister Mahendra Bahadur Pandey.