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The 38th Session of SAARC Standing Committee commenced today at Thimphu, Bhutan. Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir led the Pakistan delegation to the meeting. Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir affirmed Pakistan’s support for comprehensive regional cooperation under the SAARC framework.

The Foreign Secretary said that among the priority areas, SAARC should focus on issues related to environment and climate change; energy and food security; alleviation of poverty; promote project based cooperation; develop substantive cooperation with Observers including other regional organizations and extra – regional states that have showed keen interest in SAARC. Pakistan fully supported trans-regional economic, energy and development cooperation.

Pakistan was happy to note that under the Chairmanship of Bhutan and Secretary General Sheel Kant Sharma, we had seen steady progress in various SAARC programmes and activities.

Terrorism and illegal trafficking of drugs posed significant challenges to SAARC member states. Pakistan had hosted an important Ministerial Meeting of SAARC Interior/Home Ministers, which had adopted the Islamabad statement calling for closer cooperation among SAARC states to overcome these challenges.

South Asia, today, was witnessing vibrant democracies at work. The formulation of SAARC Democracy Charter was an important achievement.

SAARC Standing Committee is meeting in Thimphu, Bhutan and will be followed by the Meeting of SAARC Council of Ministers.

07 February 2011

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