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SAARC nations resolve to jointly fight terror

B. Muralidhar Reddy

Leaders reiterate commitment to strengthening legal regime

PHOTO: AFP

FOR JOINT INITIATIVES: Leaders of the SAARC nations at the summit in Colombo on Sunday. Seated from left are: Nepal Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala, Sri Lanka’s parliamentary Speaker W.J.M. Lokubandara, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai, Bangladesh’s Chief Advisor Fakhrudeen Ahmed, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Bhutan Prime Minister Lyonchen Jigmi Y Thinley and Maldives President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom. —

COLOMBO: The 15th SAARC Summit concluded here on Sunday, expressing deep concern over the serious threat posed by terrorism to the peace, stability and security of the region and emphasising the need for the “strongest possible cooperation” in fighting terror and trans-national organised crime, especially in the area of information exchange.

The Colombo Declaration, titled “Partnership for growth of our people,” adopted at the concluding session, dwelt at length on terrorism and issues such as trade promotion and measures to face the challenges posed by climate change.

The concluding session was followed by a retreat of the SAARC leaders at the Parliament House on the outskirts of the capital.

The leaders reiterated their commitment to strengthening the “legal regime against terrorism” by implementing all international conventions relating to combating terrorism to which the member-states are parties, as well as the SAARC Regional Convention on Suppression of Terrorism and the Additional Protocol to the SAARC Regional Convention on Suppression of Terrorism.

The Declaration said the leaders recognised the growing linkage between terrorism and illegal trafficking in narcotic and psychotropic substances, humans and firearms and stressed the need to address the problem in a comprehensive manner.

While recalling that the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1373 (2001) emphasised the importance of criminalising any act for the provision, collection and acquisition of funds with the intention of committing terror acts, the leaders recognised the value of the proposed U.N. Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism.

The draft, tabled by India, is pending finalisation due to lack of consensus among the member-States on some aspects, including an acceptable definition on what constituted terrorism.

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