Terrorism, common challenge: Rajapaksa

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UNITED STAND: Leaders from South Asian countries at a group photo session during a SAARC meeting in Colombo on Friday.
UNITED STAND: Leaders from South Asian countries at a group photo session during a SAARC meeting in Colombo on Friday.

B. Muralidhar Reddy

COLOMBO: Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Friday urged the South Asian countries for an immediate and “collective response” to deal with the menace of terrorism afflicting the region.

At the SAARC Foreign Ministers conference here, Mr. Rajapaksa said terrorism impacted the whole region, in one way or another.

The conference which concludes on Saturday is expected to adopt a declaration on terrorism. One of the main elements of the declaration pertains to the need for a review of all the declarations and instruments adopted by the SAARC over the years to tackle the challenges posed by terrorism.

“Our societies bear the brunt of the evil force of terrorism. But, we cannot and should not allow even a single citizen of South Asia to suffer as a result of the brutal violence unleashed by terrorists. Therefore, we need to re-double our efforts to combat this menace individually and collectively.”

He said the SAARC member-countries cannot shy away from taking firm and forceful action to combat terrorism, including internationally. “We, among other measures, should uphold democracy, support each other’s democracies and make it a vehicle towards defeating terrorism.”

Mr. Rajapaksa said that in the SAARC region, and in multi-lateral fora like the United Nations, there is agreement on a series of measures on how to combat terrorism in line with accepted universal values and standards and the time has come to re-dedicate ourselves to fully implement them.

In his remarks at the opening ceremony,

Minister of State for External Affairs E. Ahamed expressed appreciation on the operationalisation of SAARC food bank and development fund. He informed the participants on the steps taken to implement the South Asian University project in New Delhi.

He also conveyed his appreciation to his colleagues for their support in SAARC telemedicine project and tele-education project and projects in agriculture.



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