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SAARC ministers agree to set up free trade area

SAARC foreign ministers have agreed to create a free trade area, Foreign Secy Shashank said.

india Updated: Jan 04, 2004 19:01 IST

Foreign ministers from SAARC nations have agreed to create a free trade area, a deal that India's foreign secretary said would help to improve ties with Pakistan.

"It was in the informal consultations among the foreign ministers that an agreement was reached on SAFTA (South Asian Free Trade Area)," Foreign Secretary Shashank said.

Shashank said there was also agreement on measures to combat terrorism and on a social charter meant to raise living standards in South Asia. "In the long term, all this...will contribute to achieving bilateral progress."

SAARC foreign ministers began a two-day meeting on Friday to pave the way for a three-day summit for heads of government beginning on Sunday.

First Published: Jan 02, 2004 18:10 IST