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.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora