Bangladesh to host SAARC summit from Nov 12 | india | Hindustan Times
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Bangladesh to host SAARC summit from Nov 12

Bangladesh is set to hold the twice-deferred 13th SAARC summit on Nov 12 and 13 with some 30,000 personnel deployed in Dhaka.

india Updated: Nov 12, 2005 03:40 IST
PTI

Bangladesh is set to hold the twice-deferred 13th SAARC summit on November 12 and 13 with some 30,000 security personnel deployed in capital Dhaka as the host hoped to turn the event into a "meaningful and successful" get-together of the regional leaders.

Dhaka has been sealed off practically with security checks on all roads leading to the bustling city of 13 million people as officials from the seven South Asian countries start arriving today for different levels of pre-summit meetings.

SAARC Secretary General Lyonpa Chenkyan arrived in Dhaka yesterday.

"All officials for the programming committee will be meeting in Dhaka tonight," Bangladesh Foreign Ministery spokesman Zahirul Haque told reporters here.

The programming committee would take up 11 items already in the agenda, while member countries could place other issues, he said adding Bangladesh had nothing new to put before the meeting.

"There will be 42 bilateral meetings among the SAARC leaders during the summit," he said. "Elevating the status of SAARC secretary general will come up during the meeting along with those already in the agenda."

Bangladesh Foreign Minister Morshed Khan said the "summit leaders have resolved that we must make it a meaningful summit, and we have got a big challenge ahead of us for holding the summit successfully and implementing its decision".

Khan said the two-day summit would be a full-fleged one despite Pakistan and India shaken badly by last month's quake.

The 13th summit would greatly focus on a number of issues including how to jointly tackle the future natural disasters, strengthen the early warning system through effective cooperation and terrorism, Foreign Affairs Advisor Reaz Rahman said.

Prime Minister Khaleda Zia would spell out the road map on how to steer the seven-member forum forward after assuming the group's leadership at the Dhaka summit, Khan said.

Dhaka is set to propose the declaration of the grouping's third decade as the 'SAARC Decade of Poverty Alleviation'. Zia will be the first leader to hold the SAARC chair twice since the group was born in 1985. She took the chair in the 1993 Dhaka summit and is to assume the leadership of SAARC in the 13th summit.

Official sources said some 30,000 security personnel would guard Dhaka from today until all the guest leave the city. Besides, choppers and other security personnel would also be on full alert.

The issue of security has been a priority for Zia's government since the two serial bombings in Bangladesh in August and October.