The seventh Meeting of the Finance Ministers of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) kicked off here Thursday.
Inaugurating the meeting, Prime Minister Sushil Koirala stressed on wider cooperation among the SAARC Member States for peace, stability and development in the region.
Stating, Nepal, as a chair, has been working closely with all SAARC member states for the execution of the decisions contained in the Kathmandu Declaration 2014, Koirala said South Asia is a region of tremendous opportunities endowed with both human and natural resources and that collective political will and joint efforts could make a difference in changing the development landscape of this region.
“Close economic cooperation is required for lasting peace and prosperity”, the Prime Minister said, “We believe that the vision of South Asian Economic Union (SAEU) remains relevant and can be achieved in a phased manner within a reasonable period of time with an inbuilt provision for sharing benefits equitably among its participants,”.
Underpinning the requirement for increased interaction, dialog, and coordinated effort in the SAARC region, PM Koirala stated that there should be substantial cooperation and investment in connectivity and other core economic areas to change the region into a highly integrated one from its current status of the least integrated one.
“Connectivity in forms of physical infrastructures, energy and knowledge connectivity can catalyze meaningful cooperation in trade, tourism, investment, finance, and energy, among others, which are the key components of a deeper integration. By creating opportunities for seamless connectivity, we can maximize gains from trade and commerce and herald a new dawn in economic security for the region.”
Connectivity will give a real substance and add value to South Asia’s geographical contiguity, which is yet another vital enabling factor, he added.
He stated that deepening economic integration can give the region economic and social security only if the member states strengthened commitments and joint efforts and vigilance to fight against terrorism, growing extremism, trafficking in persons, drugs and arms, money laundering and other challenges like natural calamities and public health that have transnational dimensions.
“SAARC Finance Ministers Meeting is an important mechanism within the SAARC framework that can be effectively utilized to foster deeper economic integration in line with changing economic realities in the world. I am confident that this meeting will be able to take concrete decisions to advance the SAARC process forward in the spirit of the 18th SAARC Summit- Deeper Integration for Peace and Prosperity. I thank the commendable job done by the SAARC Finance Secretaries as preparation for this meeting,” the PM said.
Stating that Asia-Pacific region has emerged as an engine of global growth and the world was watching with interest the power and promise of South Asian potentials, PM Koirala noted united in peaceful cooperation, the region can work to translate the liberal environment into lasting peace, stability, and building strong democratic institutions to promote trust in the region.
Three arrested with tiger hides
KATHMANDU- The Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) on Tuesday arrested three persons in possession of tiger hides.
The CIB said that Man Bahadur Tamang of Shailung Rural Municipality in Dolakha; Lokmaya Gurung of Barpak Sulikot Rural Municipality in Gorkha district and Amar Singh of Tilathi Koiladi Rural Municipality in Saptari district were arrested from Budhanilkantha in the capital city acting on a tip off about their involvement in smuggling of animals’ hides and skeleton.
All three have been sent to the Division Forests Office, Kathmandu for further actions. According to the Superintendent of Police Sudip Giri, the alleged would be booked as per the National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act, 1973 and CITES Convention, 1975.Follow @gorkhapost