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Nepal to host SAARC summit in November

COLOMBO, Feb. 24 — Nepal has officially proposed to host the 18th SAARC Summit in November this year in Kathmandu, during a South Asian foreign minister's meeting in Maldives, a statement said on Monday.

Nepal made the proposal during the 35th meeting of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Council of Foreign Ministers in Maldives last week. This is the third time that Nepal will be hosting the SAARC Summit.

"During the meeting, Nepal proposed to host the 18th SAARC Summit and the preceding meetings in the month of November 2014. The Council welcomed the offer of Nepal to host the Summit," said a statement issued by the Nepal foreign ministry.

The meeting formally approved Nepal's nomination of Arjun Bahadur Thapa, former foreign secretary, as the 12th secretary- general of SAARC for a period of three years commencing from 1 March 2014. The incumbent Secretary-General from Maldives, Ahmed Saleem Ais, is retiring at end of this month after completion of his tenure.

Nepal should have hosted the summit much earlier but due to political instability, lack of logistic preparation and other regional reasons, it was delayed. The 17th summit was held in Maldives in 2011.

In 2002, Nepal hosted the summit three years behind schedule. SAARC summits normally take place every year.

The meeting of the foreign ministers deliberated upon a number of core issues of regional cooperation under SAARC such as trade, finance, investment, poverty alleviation, connectivity, energy and infrastructure and made decisions towards further enhancing regional cooperation.

The meeting was inaugurated by President of the Maldives Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom. (PNA/Xinhua)

JBP/UTB

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