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Food security, terrorism on agenda

Sri Lankan Foreign Minister has said that with rising food prices becoming a global crisis, food security will be at the heart of the summit.
By HT Correspondent | IANS, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JUN 18, 2008 11:59 AM IST

The forthcoming Saarc summit to be hosted by Sri Lanka will address the issues of food and energy security as well as terrorism, said Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama.

The minister was in India to extend an invitation from the Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to the 15th Saarc Summit to be held August.

Bogollagama told reporters here Monday that he had extensive discussions on the Saarc development agenda with the Indian prime minister and External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee.

While the last summit hosted by India had "connectivity" as its theme, Sri Lanka will be going the next step by "partnerships for growth".

With rising food prices becoming a global crisis, food security will be at the heart of the summit, with the minister indicating that the operationalisation of Saarc Food Banks may be expedited.

He said that he found the Indian prime minister "highly conscious" of food security and talked specifically about increasing productivity.

"Our president (Mahinda Rajapakse) suggested creation of a food mart. This will help to address immediate needs that may get affected and will have to be looked at the regional context," Bogollagama told reporters.

He also mentioned that energy security would also be a key point to be discussed as well as terrorism.

He dismissed suggestions that with the Tamil Tiger's still actively organising suicide attacks in different parts of the island, the security of the summit will be vulnerable.

Bogollagama said Sri Lanka had been hosting international events successfully without any security issues and pointed out that recently it hosted youth ministers from 52 commonwealth countries.

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