Framework on Saarc observers soon | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, November 17, 2011 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, November 17, 2011

Framework on Saarc observers soon

The Saarc countries will soon prepare a framework explaining the role of the observers and their engagement into the Saarc activities.
Speaking at a press briefing yesterday on the outcome of the 17th Saarc summit held in Maldives on Nov 10-11, Foreign Secretary Mijarul Quayes said the foreign secretaries of the eight member states will meet to prepare the framework aiming to effectively integrate the observers into the association.
The decision on preparing a framework was taken at the just concluded summit, Quayes said adding that the standing committee, comprises by the foreign secretaries of all member states, may sit at the time of the intra-summit meeting.
He said some observers have already expressed their willingness to get involved in the Saarc activities. Now Saarc has nine observer countries--USA, European Union, China, Japan, South Korea, Myanmar, Iran, Mauritius and Australia.
Official sources said more countries like Russia, Turkey and Indonesia are vying for observer status of Saarc.
The standing committee, which will meet to prepare framework, will report the outcome of their discussion to the Saarc Council of Ministers, comprises by the foreign ministers who will later placed for approval of the heads of state and government at the 18th Saarc summit to be held in Nepal.
It may be mentioned that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in her inaugural speech at the 17th summit suggested that the experience of the observers could be utilised for advancement of the forum.
Replying to a question about the expansion of Saarc members since opposition leader Khaleda Zia suggested inclusion of China as a full member, the foreign secretary said the 17th summit did not discuss the expansion of the forum.
Additional Foreign Secretary Mostafa Kamal, Foreign Ministry Director Generals of Saarc, UN and External Publicity Wings were present at the press briefing.

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