|SAARC Foreign Ministers to meet in Colombo|
|Sunday, 22 February 2009 18:41|
The SAARC Council of Ministers represented by the Foreign Ministers of SAARC Member States will meet in Colombo on 27-28 February for its Inter-Summit Session. The Council of Ministers meeting will be preceded by Meetings of the SAARC Programming Committee represented by Senior Officials and the SAARC Standing Committee represented by the Foreign Secretaries of respective SAARC Member States on 23-24 February and 25-26 February respectively.
The Foreign Ministers, Foreign Secretaries and Senior Officials will deliberate on a series of issues relating to the implementation of the 15th SAARC Summit Declaration as well as decisions taken in agreed areas such as economic and financial cooperation; agriculture including the operationalisation of the SAARC Food Bank; matters related to social development, health and population; narcotic drugs, terrorism and legal matters including the implementation of the SAARC Regional Convention on Suppression of Terrorism and its Additional Protocol as well as the SAARC Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters. The Meetings will also consider the Reports of Ministerial Meetings held since the 15th Colombo Summit including the First Meeting of the SAARC Ministers of Science and Technology, the Extraordinary Meeting of SAARC Agriculture Ministers, Third SAARC Energy Ministers Meeting and the Conference of SAARC Ministers of Parliamentary Affairs.
Apart from exploring ways and means of expediting progress in agreed areas of cooperation, the meetings will discuss current issues of concern for the region with a view to taking regional action to address challenges.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa will address the 31st Session of the Council of Ministers on 27 February at its inauguration in his capacity as current Chair of SAARC.
The Programming Committee will be chaired by Additional Foreign Secretary Prasad Kariyawasam; the Standing Committee will be chaired by Foreign Secretary Dr. Palitha Kohona and the 31st Session of the Council will be chaired by Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama.
Since assuming the chairmanship of SAARC, Sri Lanka has hosted two SAARC Ministerial Meetings, namely on Energy and on Parliamentary Affairs. With a view to implementing the Colombo Statement on Food Security by Heads of State and Government at the 15th SAARC Summit, Sri Lanka hosted two meetings of the SAARC Food Bank Board in October 2008 and February 2009. This year will also see Sri Lanka host SAARC Ministerial Meetings on Higher Education which will be the first such meeting in SAARC; Transport; Children; and Science and Technology. As current chair of the SAARC Working Groups on Tourism and Bio-technology, Sri Lanka will host meetings of these Working Groups in April and June this year. 2009 will also see the operationalisation of the SAARC Cultural Centre which will be located in Matara.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
22 February 2009