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Poverty reduction, combating terror to top SAARC agenda

Bangladesh today said poverty reduction, terrorism and development challenges will top the agenda of the upcoming SAARC Summit.

india Updated: Nov 12, 2005 03:40 IST

Bangladesh today said poverty reduction, terrorism and development challenges will top the agenda of the upcoming SAARC Summit here and hoped the regional grouping would come up with a blueprint of cooperation on the issues at the two-day meeting.

Outlining the goal of the 13th Summit, Bangladesh's Foreign Minister Morshed Khan said Dhaka wanted to make the grouping "truly effective."

"SAARC is a unique instrument at the disposal of the countries of South Asia," he told reporters ahead of the November 12-13 summit of the South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC).

The issues to be taken up at the meeting would include economic uplift to reduce poverty, combating terrorism and development challenges, he said.

"Combating terrorism is a task that South Asia needs to pursue relentlessly," he said, hoping the summit will provide a timely opportunity to revisit the issue to fine tune the grouping's response to address this major problem.

"I believe that all the seven SAARC countries realise that now is the time to act and they will have the opportunity during the 13th SAARC summit to come up with a blueprint of cooperation for a new decade and a new era of hope for all SAARC countries," he added.

Asked to comment on the common understanding that India and Pakistan were the "movers or shakers" of SAARC, the minister refused to admit such ideas, saying "sour ties between India and Pakistan can be an impediment to SAARC but not the (group's) main guiding force."

First Published: Nov 09, 2005 21:11 IST