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Afghanistan to get Saarc membership in Dhaka

The special session of Saarc kicks off in Dhaka on April 11 to finalise the draft of modalities for admitting Afghanistan.

india Updated: Apr 10, 2006 12:47 IST
Indo-Asian News Service
Indo-Asian News Service

The special session of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) standing committee kicks off here on Tuesday to finalise the draft of modalities for admitting Afghanistan as a new member.

Guidelines for associating observers in the grouping to China and Japan may also be decided, Bangladesh News reported.

"We also expect to finalise a joint declaration that will be signed between the seven heads of state or government on the one side and the president of Afghanistan on the other at the 14th SAARC Summit in New Delhi early next year," Bangladesh's Foreign Secretary Hemayetuddin said.

The 13th summit held here in November last year granted membership to Afghanistan and observer status to China and Japan.

The US and South Korea also formally requested SAARC chair Bangladesh last month for becoming observers in the regional grouping.

Like the decision of awarding observer status to China and Japan, this too would be taken at the summit level.

"... We will look into various aspects of their involvement with SAARC," Hemayetuddin said adding that such a growing interest towards SAARC emergence was a recognition by the international community.

"We hope an agreed formula would come up."

Comprising foreign secretaries from the seven member states, the standing committee will also finalise a Vision 2015 document, already put forward by chair Bangladesh, for the third decade of SAARC at the session.

Foreign Minister M Morshed Khan will inaugurate the session while Foreign Secretary Hemayetuddin will preside over the two-day meet that comprises senior officials of the foreign ministries of member countries, Bangladesh Observer reported.

SAARC groups India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

First Published: Apr 10, 2006 12:41 IST