Saarc leaders reach last-minute energy deal

Finally Saarc member states signed the Saarc Framework Agreement on Energy Cooperation (Electricity) aimed at sharing and trading electricity among the member countries through a common grid.

The Saarc leaders, however, failed to reach a consensus to sign the regional connectivity deal at the concluding session of the two-day long 18th Saarc Summit that adopted a 36-point declaration.

saarc 2014After the signing ceremony of energy cooperation deal by the foreign ministers of the Saarc countries, Nepalese Prime Minister Sushil Koirala said the Transport Ministers of the member countries would sit within three months to finalize the Saarc Agreement on Motor Vehicle and Saarc Agreement on Railway Service.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Bhutanese PM Tshering Tobgay, Indian PM Narendra Modi, Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom, Pakistani PM Nawaz and Nepalese Prime Minister Sushil Koirala witnessed the signing at the City Hall.

Bangladesh premier’s Media Adviser Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury said not only Bangladesh but all Saarc member states will be benefitted with the signing of the energy cooperation deal.

“Through this cooperation, a possibility of resolving power and energy crises of the Saarc countries has been unfolded today [yesterday],” he said at a press briefing at the media center at Radisson Hotel in Kathmandu following the concluding of the Saarc Summit.

Signing of the treaty is one of the major successes of this year’s summit, he said adding that the 18th summit ended very successfully.

The PM adviser said that with the implementation of the 36-point Kathmandu declaration, people of the region would be benefitted.

The prime minister will leave for Dhaka from Kathmandu at 10:30am today.

The 19th Saarc summit would be held in Islamabad in Pakistan in 2016.

Nepalese Prime Minister Sushil Koirala announced this in his winding up speech on the closing session of the 18th Saarc summit.

Pakisthan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif gave vote of thanks for selecting Pakistan as the venue of next Saarc summit.

Then the eight south Asian leaders joined a photo session.

The Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina along with other Saarc leaders called on Nepalese President Dr Ram Baran Yadav at the President House (Rastrapati Bhawan) tonight.

The Saarc leaders also joined a banquet hosted by the Nepal’s President in honor of the leaders attending the 18th Saarc Summit.

Declaration:

The Saarc leaders expressed their strong determination to deepen regional integration for peace, stability and prosperity in the South Asian region by intensifying cooperation in trade, investment, finance, security, infrastructure and connectivity and implementing projects and programs on a prioritized, result-oriented and time bound manner.

They renewed their commitment to achieve South Asian Economic Union (SAEU) in a planned manner through a Free Trade Area, a Custom Union, a common market, economy, and monetary union.

They directed SAFTA ministerial council and committee of experts to accelerate free trade in goods and service in the region and called for comprehensive reforms of the global economic and financial structure to make LDCs inclusive.

The Saarc leaders agreed to strengthen the social window of the organization development fund and operationalise its economic and infrastructure window for effective implement ion of regional projects.

The heads of the state and the governments welcomed the significant progress towards finalizing of the Saarc Motor Vehicles Agreemtn and Regional Railways Agreement.

They renewed their commitment to enhance regional connectivity substantially through building and upgrading roads, railways, waterways, infrastructure, energy grids, communications and air links to ensure smooth cross border flow of goods, services, technology and people.

The leaders directed the relevant Saarc bodies to identify regional and sub-regional projects in the areas of power generation, transmission and power trade and implement them with high priority.

They reiterated their strong commitment to free South Asia from poverty.

– Star Online Report


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