Aug 11, Kandy: Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa called for a forum at the upcoming South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit in November to address the issues that impact the youth in the South Asian region.
The President stressed the importance of such a forum when the Secretary General of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Arjun Bahadur Thapa called on the President at the President's House in Kandy Monday morning.
According to a press statement issued by the President's office, the Sri Lankan President informed the Secretary General that Sri Lanka is looking forward to participating in the 18th SAARC Summit, which will be held in Kathmandu in November of this year.
The Secretary General, who is currently in Sri Lanka on his first official visit since assuming duties in March his year, apprised the President on the current state of affairs of the regional organization with special reference to the preparations being made for the Summit in November.
President Rajapaksa proposed two specific initiatives for consideration by SAARC member countries.
The President stressed the importance of SAARC organizing a youth forum to bring together young people in the region in order to address issues that impact youth in this part of the world. President Rajapaksa also proposed a programme to develop a circuit that would promote connectivity with regard to religious and cultural places of interest in the SAARC region.
The discussion between the President and the Secretary General also focused on the renewed interest among members in further strengthening SAARC within the region while also establishing itself as a contributor to the economic prosperity not only in South Asia but also in the international arena.
Deputy Minister of External Affairs Neomal Perera, Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga and Additional Secretary to the Ministry of External Affairs Mrs. Chitranganee Wagiswara were also present for the discussion.
(Photos by Sudath Silva)