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Saturday, November 20, 1999

Track 2 diplomacy to rule meet

SAURABH SHUKLA  
NEW DELHI, NOV 19: The SAARC meeting in Kathmandu has been postponed following the developments in Pakistan. However, the track two diplomacy between the SAARC countries will occupy centrestage at a three-day brainstorming session to chalk out an alternative agenda for regional cooperation in South Asia for the next millennium in Kathmandu.

The meet is significant as a number of influential figures from all the seven SAARC countries will be present at the Kathmandu meet. Key issues like security and economic cooperation in the region will be on the agenda and fate of crucial South Asian Preferential Trade Agreement (SAPTA) will also be discussed.

Organised by the Coalition for Action on South Asian Cooperation (CASAC), from December 1 to 3, the three-day meet will be attended by former prime minister I.K. Gujral, former foreign secretary Muchkund Dubey, former SAARC secretary general K.K. Bhargava besides former minister of science and technology M.G.K Menon. Pakistan will be represented by former foreignsecretary Niaz Naik, Lt General Talat Masood, and former Pakistani minister Javed Jabbar for information and broadcasting, besides Dr Sarafaraz Quereshi. Bangladesh will be represented by Rehman Sobhan, and ambassador Farooq Sobhan, executive chairman, Board of Investment, Prime Minister's Office of Bangladesh.

The focus will largely be on a closer economic cooperation between the SAARC countries besides discussing the security issues and political changes in the region. The meet will also take stock of developments in Pakistan following the military coup. Maldives will be sending minister of development and planning I.H. Zaki and Bhutan will be represented by Lyonpo Dago Tshering, its ambassador to India. Nepal will be represented by its former finance minister Devendra Pandey besides former Nepalese foreign secretary, Yadav Kant Silwal.

There will be session devoted to security and nuclear issues, chaired by Niaz Naik that will focus on conflict management and confidence building measures in SouthAsia.

There will be a session on mechanisms and modalities of co-operation and accelerating economic cooperation besides improving infrastructure. The session devoted to economic cooperation will be addressed by Nihal Rodrigo, from Sri Lanka, besides the secretary general of United Nations Conference on Trade and Disarmament and representatives of the European Union and ASEAN.

Copyright © 1999 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd.


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