News

    Terrorism Talks Overshadow South Asian Summit

    South Asian leaders have agreed to work jointly to combat terrorism, eradicate poverty, ensure regional food security and enhance trade ties.  The declaration was affirmed in Sri lanka at the 15th summit of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation . VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Colombo reports the conference was overshadowed by tense meetings on the sidelines involving several of the leaders.

    As the SAARC summit concluded, Afghanistan and Pakistan agreed to devise a "common strategy" to deal with terrorism, including reducing the movement of extremists across their common border.

    In a joint statement following a meeting between Afghanistan's president Hamid Karzai and Pakistani prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, the neighbors agreed to coordinate efforts to halt cross-border terrorism.

    Not mentioned in the statement was the July 7 bombing of the Indian Embassy in the Afghan capital, in which about 60 people died.  Afghanistan and India have accused Pakistan's intelligence agency of masterminding the attack.

    Mr. Gilani met Saturday with Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh.  The Pakistani leader promised to conduct an independent investigation into the embassy blast and possible links to his country's intelligence service.

    The sideline meetings - and the presence of high-profile observers, including Iran's foreign minister - took the spotlight off the actual summit.

    The leaders of the association's eight nations pledged a joint fight against terrorism through a convention on trading information in criminal matters, the establishment of a $300-million fund to fight poverty, and the expedited opening of a regional food bank.  They also pledged to improve cross-border trading by harmonizing quality standards.

    The U.S. assistant secretary of state for the region, Richard Boucher, says such moves demonstrate the regional group is moving beyond the talking stage.

    "I do not think any single organization or any single meeting is going to solve all these problems," said Boucher. "But I think every organization and every meeting should try to make a direct contribution and that is what the SAARC leaders have pledged themselves to do together.  And that is what we as observers are trying to work with them to do."

    In remarks at the summit, the chief of Bangladesh's caretakergovernment, Fakhruddin Ahmed, said SAARC is finally living up to the ideals it proposed when it was initiated.

    "This summit has rekindled the hope and belief among our peoples regarding the delivery and prosperity that we collectively promised 23 years ago," said Fakhruddin Ahmed.

    The SAARC leaders represent more than one of every five people on the planet, but 40 percent of the world's poor.  The association is composed of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. 

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora