Sri Lanka seeks stronger cooperation from SAARC

Updated: 2014-11-26 14:19


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KATHMANDU - Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa called for here Wednesday a common voice on international issues and cooperation on eradicating terrorism regionally and globally.

"We gather here with renewed focus, desiring greater integration for peace and prosperity. SAARC has been evolving for almost three decades which is at a crucial juncture. There is a need to shift from traditional approaches and implement a result oriented action that impacts directly on the people," he said while addressing the 18th summit of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).

He drew his government's national plan focusing on rural development as an example for SAARC to follow since it has averaged over seven percent growth and achieved less than 6 percent poverty.

He pointed out that SAARC still has over 25 percent of its population in poverty, insisting that this disparity needs to be addressed.

Creating a vibrant economic environment to attract investment is a policy of Rajapaksa's government implemented which has resulted in a growth of 22 percent growth in former war torn areas in northern Sri Lanka.

"This is a policy for SAARC. Trade and services need to be seen not as an end in itself but as part of a greater economy. Our attempt to establish a south Asian community by 2030 must take into account growth disparities and no part of SAARC should be left behind," he emphasized.

Climate change and the defining challenge of current times need to be embraced by SAARC with a common position and become a significant voice on the global climate platform, he said.

He also praised India for developing and launching a satellite dedicated to SAARC.

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