By Anil Giri
The forthcoming 18th Saarc Summit to be held in Kathmandu will focus on installing durable peace and prosperity among the member states and will give utmost priority to regional unity, Nepal’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Mahendra Bahadur Pandey said.
The theme of the summit is “deeper integration for peace and prosperity”, and the 18th summit declaration would focus on bringing durable peace and prosperity in the region, Pandey said at a media briefing.
Among others, this summit would make a commitment to eradication of illiteracy by 2030 from the region; stress on quality education that will help build skill, knowledge and enhancement of character; ending violence against women; providing employment opportunities for youth; according respect to senior citizen; and would call for ending all forms of terrorism, said Pandey while elaborating other points to be announced in the Kathmandu declaration.
Three agreements — the Saarc motor vehicle agreement, railway agreement and energy pact — will be signed and a separate centre to look after natural calamities, environment and climate change, will be announced, he said.
“Special attention will be given to implementation of past accords and agreements,” said Pandey. He said all necessary preparations related to the summit have been completed.
Similarly, addressing media persons in Kathmandu at another function Tuesday, Saarc Secretary General Arjun Bahadur Thapa said the upcoming summit would be historic as the prime ministers of India and Pakistan would participate in the summit and no disputes have occurred prior to the summit.
The 18th summit would merge those regional centres which were ineffective and were not performing up to the mark, he said.
“The summit will change its charter and from next time, the summit will be held at two-year intervals,” said Thapa.
A high-level preparatory committee for the Saarc summit headed by Nepal’s Prime Minister Sushil Koirala Tuesday assessed the security preparations for the summit and expressed satisfaction with the measures undertaken.
Nepal’s Home Minister Bamdev Gautam said after the meeting that all the preparatory works regarding the summit and security aspects have been completed and there would be fool-proof security during the summit.