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* Australia and Myanmar to admit as SAARC observers Sri Lanka official
Wednesday, July 30, 2008, 4:27 GMT, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

July 30, Colombo: A Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry official says Australia and Myanmar would be allowed to join the South Asian Association of Regional Corporation (SAARC) as observers at its 15th annual session currently being held in Colombo.

Media reports quoting Sri Lanka's additional foreign secretary Prasad Kariawasam said the decision was announced after the 35th session of the Standing Committee which began yesterday at the BMICH in Colombo.

The Foreign Secretaries of the eight SAARC counties participate in this two day session to discuss the food security, issues on energy crisis and water resources, poverty alleviation, combating terrorism in addition to several other key issues concerning the region.

In addition to the eight members, seven other nations, China, Iran, European Union, Japan, South Korea, USA and Mauritius have observer status in the SAARC.

Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama said earlier Australia and Myanmar have sought observer status in SAARC.

Myanmar has formally requested full membership of the SAARC in March this year. If admitted Myanmar becomes the ninth nation to join SAARC.

The newest SAARC nation, Afghanistan who became a member last year will become a signatory to the South Asia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) during the summit.

Sri Lankan Daily News and Reports

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