Govt firm on holding SAARC
summit as scheduled
Government is to go ahead with the 15th SAARC summit in Colombo from July 27 to August 3 under the theme ‘Growing Together,’ despite the stepped up bomb attacks by the LTTE in the South, Deputy Foreign Minister Hussein Bhaila said yesterday.
He said there was no intention of putting off the summit and all arrangements were being finalized to hold it. Earlier the summit was scheduled to be held in Kandy, but it was decided to transfer it to Colombo due to security considerations and lack of adequate facilities there.
The fifteenth summit of the now expanded eight- member SAARC group of nations should have been held this year in the Maldives, but it was given to Sri Lanka as the Male government was not ready to host it. At the 14th summit held in New Delhi last year the grouping was expanded with the addition of Afghanistan as a full member.
The 15th summit will kick off with the officials’ meeting on July 27 followed by the Foreign Secretaries and Foreign Ministers meetings. It will culminate with the Heads of State or Government summit.
It is still not clear where the Heads of State will have their usual one-day retreat. Due to security reasons officials are tight-lipped about the venue, but it is believed to be in a hilly location. (RA)