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SAARC Summit opens in Dhaka

The twice-postponed 13th summit being attended among others by Manmohan Singh opened amidst tight security.

india Updated: Nov 12, 2005 13:06 IST

The twice-postponed 13th SAARC summit being attended among others by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh opened in the Bangladeshi capital on Saturday amidst tight security, with the seven-nation grouping stepping into its third decade.

Pakistan Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz was in the chair before handing over the grouping's leadership to host Prime Minister Khaleda Zia as all the leaders took their seats on a white flower bedecked podium.

The leaders also observed a minute of silence in the memory of victims of the recent earthquake in India and Pakistan as well as last year's tsunami in several south and south-east Asian countries.

With the summit, the grouping founded in Dhaka in 1985 stepped into its third decade.

Among the dignitaries were the foreign ministers, senior officials and spouses of the seven leaders. Former Bangladesh President Hussain Muhammad Ershad who hosted the first founding summit in 1985 was also present.

The main Bangladesh opposition leader and Awami League party chief Sheikh Hasina Wajed stayed away from the event.

First Published: Nov 12, 2005 10:11 IST