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Home > News > PTI

SAARC: Foreign Secretaries meet begins

K J M Varma in Islamabad | December 31, 2003 13:08 IST

Foreign Secretaries of seven SAARC countries on Wednesday began deliberations to finalise a broad agenda for the weekend regional grouping summit that is expected to focus on a framework for South Asian Free Trade Area Treaty and ways of combating terrorism.

Foreign Secretary Shashank, the seniormost Indian official to visit Pakistan since the Kargil conflict in 1999, is attending the two-day meeting of the Standing Committee presided over by Pakistani Foreign Secretary Riaz Khokhar.

They would try to work out agreements and convention on suppressing terrorism, narcotic drugs and psychotropic substance, trafficking of women and children.

Their recommendations would be taken up at the two-day ministerial-level meeting beginning on January 2, ahead of the three-day summit beginning January 4. Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee will be arriving in Islamabad on January 3, a day before the summit.

Other issues being discussed by the Foreign Secretaries included implementation of a comprehensive report on poverty alleviation. SAARC countries have already exchanged lists of tariff preferences during several round of talks held under SAPTA. SAARC countries were now looking forward to take up more ambitious undertakings like SAFTA to pave the way for free trade process in the sub-continent.

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