South Asia

SAARC leaders reach last-minute energy deal

Narendra Modi greets Nawaz Sharif in Kathmandu on Thursday.

Narendra Modi greets Nawaz Sharif in Kathmandu on Thursday.  

Narendra Modi and Nawaz Sharif shake hands to big applause

Foreign Ministers of the eight countries signed an agreement on energy cooperation in the presence of their heads of state and government during the concluding ceremony of the 18th SAARC Summit on Thursday.

The Ministers signed the SAARC Framework Agreement for Energy Cooperation (Electricity). Two other agreements, according to current SAARC Chair, Prime Minister of Nepal Sushil Koirala, would be signed later after the Transport Ministers of these countries reviewed them. These two are the Regulation of Passenger and Cargo Vehicular Traffic amongst SAARC Member States, and SAARC Regional Agreement on Railways.

It is learnt that Advisor to Pakistan PM on Foreign Affairs and National Security, Sartaj Aziz, had sought more time on the proposed agreements, citing lack of “internal preparations”, according to several diplomatic officials. The agreements were expected to be taken up by heads of state and government but only the energy cooperation got the nod.

Speaking at the concluding session of the 18th SAARC Summit, Mr. Koirala said it was imperative on the leaders and people of SAARC countries to move ahead together.

Mr. Koirala also announced that the next summit would be held in Pakistan. During his thanks-giving speech Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said the 19th SAARC Summit would be held in Pakistan in 2016.

Meanwhile, the Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan brought smiles on the stage as well as in the hall when they shook each other’s hands. A beaming Nepal PM Sushil Koirala was just behind them. The City Hal, the venue of the SAARC Summit, instantly broke into applause.

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Printable version | May 31, 2020 7:47:44 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/south-asia/saarc-leaders-reach-energy-deal/article6639785.ece

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