The SAARC conference which will showcase to the entire world Sri Lanka s resilience against terrorism and the country s vibrant democracy will get underway in Colombo tomorrow.
The theme of this year s SAARC summit is Partnership for our people and according to the Vision . The Summit with the participation of Eight South Asian Leaders will be staged at the BMICH. Afghanistan is attending the Summit for the first time after securing membership of the organisation. Participation of seven countries as observers is a notable feature. The 15th SAARC Summit opens on the 2nd of next month after meetings of Foreign Secretaries and Foreign Ministers. The Government has decided to hold the Leaders meeting at the Parliamentary Complex. 100 SAARC houses built in Nawalapitiya under the theme, A House for All will be declared open tomorrow. A meeting to brief on the programme was held in Colombo today.
Minister Rohitha Bogollagama addressing the journalists said this year s Summit can be described as a conference which will provide significant opportunities for a population of 1500 million. The Minister opined that attention will be drawn to fulfilling the responsibility of proper implementation of decisions taken at the 12th Summit in Islamabad, the 13th Summit in Dhaka and the 14th in India.
Sri Lanka which is fortunate to assume the Chair of the SAARC outfit is geared to submitting several common proposals important to the region. President Rajapakse will make several important proposals as solutions to the food and oil disputes, the region is facing. Minister Bogollagama said it was hoped to secure regional cooperation for four agreements at the Summit. .The Minister opined that they were able to sign the South Asian Free Trade Agreement and implement it. SAARC has become a Free Trade Zone. They wanted to make it more energetic. An agreement will be signed in Colombo for the establishment of a Development Fund, identified under the poverty alleviation programme. A contribution of 300 million US Dollars, which is approximately 30 billion rupees will be made.
Foreign Secretary Dr. Palitha Kohona and many officials were present at this news briefing.