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South Asian Leaders to Focus on Climate Change, Trade


South Asian Leaders to Focus on Climate Change, Trade

South Asian Leaders to Focus on Climate Change, Trade

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The leaders of eight South Asian nations are meeting in the small Himalayan nation of Bhutan for a summit focusing on trade, climate change and other common issues.

The South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation is made up of India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan and the Maldives.

Foreign ministers met Tuesday in Bhutan's capital, Thimphu, to finalize the agenda for the two-day summit that begins Wednesday. The ministers agreed to put forward a collective statement on climate change, an issue that is of particular importance to Bhutan.

Summit leaders are also poised to approve a major trade and services agreement.

There is also speculation as to whether the leaders of longtime rivals, India and Pakistan, will meet on the sidelines of the summit.

Pakistani officials said Monday that if Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani meets with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, efforts would be made to restart a comprehensive dialogue between the two nations.

India and Pakistan have fought three wars since their independence from British rule in 1947.

Ties between India and Pakistan have been strained since the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks, which India blames on Pakistan-based militants.

On the eve of SAARC Summit at Thimpu, the capital of Bhutan, a Bangladeshi journalist from Channel I, Tariqul Islam Masum discusses the preparation for the 16^th SAARC Summit in Bhutan. The country has been holding the summit for the first time since SAARC was formed.

In this discussion Masum talks about the final agenda of SAARC Summit approved at the meeting of SAARC Council of Ministers. Final draft agreement was reached on environment protection and service trade in South Asia. In this year’s summit, importance is given on climate change and environments.

Masum also mentions that Bangladesh Prime Minister met with several heads of the governments from SAARC countries including Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani.

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