Koirala starts bilateral meetings with SAARC leaders

August 1st, 2008 - 3:51 pm ICT by ANI  

Manmohan Singh

Kathmandu, Aug 1 (ANI): Nepals caretaker Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala today started bilateral meetings with leaders of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), who have gathered here to participate in the summit on August 2-3.
According to Nepalnews, he paid a call to President of Sri Lanka, Mahinda Rajapaksa.
According to a Foreign Ministry official who is part of the Nepalese delegation, the two leaders discussed the plan to develop Lumbini, the birthplace of Gautam Buddha, as a major hub of tourism and Buddhist pilgrimage. This was the first bilateral meeting between the Sri Lankan President and a head of the Nepal government since the last SAARC summit.
Koirala will meet his Indian counterpart Dr. Manmohan Singh this evening when the latter arrives in Colombo.
The Summit is expected to finalise four different agreements. They include agreements for a SAARC Development Fund, a South Asian Regional Standards Organisation, taking Afghanistan into the South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) pact and the formation of a mutual legal assistance pact to deal with criminal activities.
The Summit is also likely to give top priority to regional cooperation on issues such as poverty alleviation, food security, energy crisis, terrorism and climate change.
There are eight member states in SAARC including India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Maldives and Bhutan. (ANI)

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