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SAARC states to fight "terrorism"

Foreign ministers of India and Pakistan and five other South Asian countries will be getting together in Nepal next week to discuss tightening up of "anti-terrorism" measures.

Last Modified: 02 Jul 2003 13:56 GMT

Foreign ministers of India and Pakistan and five other South Asian countries will be getting together in Nepal next week to discuss tightening up of "anti-terrorism" measures.

A top official at Nepal’s foreign ministry said the member-countries of the South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation (SAARC) would be meeting between 9-11 July for updating a 1987 regional convention against "terrorism".

“The member-countries will undertake a comprehensive review of the 1987 convention,” Madan Kumar Bhattarai, a senior official said.

The 1987 convention included a definition of "terrorist" activities, but made clear that SAARC countries were under no obligation to extradite "terrorism" suspects to other member-states.

SAARC includes Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka, India and Pakistan.

Bhattarai said that a similar meeting of SAARC officials some months ago had called for the member-countries to “redouble efforts collectively and individually to prevent and suppress terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.”

But officials admit that SAARC has had a few accomplishments due to the distrust between India and Pakistan, the bloc’s two biggest member-states.

A full-fledged SAARC summit last January was indefinitely postponed after India accused Pakistan of abetting "terrorism" in Indian administered Kashmir and refused to confirm participation.

Officials said the next week’s meeting could also discuss when the next summit could be held.

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