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Nepal highlights security, stronger ties at SAARC summit

IANS 26 Nov 2014, 14:29:55 PM IST

Kathmandu: Nepal as the new chair of SAARC will focus on connectivity, security and eradicating extreme poverty, said Prime Minister Sushil Koirala on Wednesday.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the 18th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation summit here, Koirala stressed that the bloc has to work towards freeing the people from "inhuman" poverty and enhancing healthcare, education and women's empowerment.

"Lack of connectivity has kept us far apart, it requires a quantum jump to link the member countries together, including trade liberalisation. We need to build roads, ports, waterways and facilitate movement of goods, people and capital. Then we can achieve the theme of this summit in a real sense," he added.

He also stressed empowering the youths of the region and giving them opportunities and stopping migration, according to Xinhua.

While remittances were positive, they have come with social cost, he noted, calling for a comprehensive regional programme for optimal use of human resources to work on a common position for the safety of migrant workers.

The Prime Minister described terrorism as a "common enemy," and called for joint effort to combat terrorism. He also called for the strengthening of institutional frameworks with deeper cooperation on law and order as well as sharing of critical information, especially endemic corruption.

On the formulation of Nepal's new constitution, he said democracy and rule of law, good governance and inclusiveness would lay the foundation for a peaceful country.

The eight SAARC members will hold discussions for collective development at the two-day summit themed "Deeper Integration for Peace and Prosperity".

Born in 1985 in Bangladesh, the SAARC is a regional association of eight South Asian countries -- Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Afghanistan joined SAARC as its eighth member state in 2007.