President to attend SAARC summit

By Chandani Kirinde

President Mahinda Rajapaksa will lead Sri Lanka’s delegation to the South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation (SAARC)’s 17th summit to be held in the Maldives on Friday and Saturday.

The opening ceremony will be held at Addu City or Seenu Atoll which is the southernmost atoll of the Maldives while the retreat will be held at Fuvamulah, a solitary island located in the southern region.
Officials of the Ministry of External Affairs left for Male yesterday to attend the preparatory sessions ahead of summit.

The foreign ministers’ meeting to held on Thursday will be attend ed by External Affairs Minister G.L. Peiris.

Head of states or governments from all SAARC member nations, including India and Pakistan, have confirmed they will take part in the summit while high-level representatives from Australia, Japan and China will participate as observers.

The theme of this year’s summit is “Building Bridges” and the focus will be both on increasing physical connectivity as well as figurative political dialogue.The eight members of the association are Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, the Maldives, Bhutan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.

This is the third time the Maldives is hosting the summit, having done so in 1990 and 1997.

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