SAARC summit ends, energy pact signed, but railway, vehicle agreements delayed

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, November 27, 2014
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South Asian leaders signed an agreement on energy cooperation at the end of their summit here on Thursday after two days of discussions about collective development for deeper integration for peace and prosperity in the region.

A 31-point document titled the "Kathmandu Declaration" was issued at the end of the summit. It touches on a wide range of issues including counterterrorism, trade and investment promotion, infrastructure development, youth employment, telecommunication tariff cuts, regional connectivity, social security for elderly people, literacy, and SAARC's transformation into the South Asian Economic Union by 2030.

Nepali Prime Minister Sushil Koirala reiterated his call for stronger relations at the closing ceremony of the 18th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit, insisting his country will continue to work hard to implement crucial liberalization mechanism to increase engagement.

"Convergence of opinion is needed to provide tangible results. Nepal will put best efforts to get decisions at this summit sincerely implemented. I'm confident we will be able to bring tangible results to all members," he said.

SAARC, which was formed nearly three decades ago, has come under fire for failing to promote cooperation between members - India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, the Maldives, Bhutan and Afghanistan.

"Our achievements stand short of expectations," Koirala admitted.

This was in evidence at the summit as only one of the three agreements expected to be signed was approved.

The leaders singed the energy cooperation agreement while those on railway and motor vehicle were delayed.

Following the signing of the energy cooperation framework, Koirala pledged to gather all transport ministers of member states within three months to hash out the SAARC Railway Agreement and Motor Vehicle Agreement, but there is no timeline in place for implementation.

A much anticipated meeting between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif failed to take place, but the leaders retreat on Thursday morning was reported to have worked as an ice-breaker between them.

According to Nepali Foreign Minister Mahendra Bahadur Pandey, Modi and Sharif met and shook hands at the retreat.

Pakistan will host the 19th SAARC summit in 2016. Endi

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