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Iran will attend its first SAARC summit

New Delhi, Aug 1, IRNA - Iran will participate in the South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Summit for the first time this week.

Iran's foreign minister Mr Manouchehr Mottaki is expected to travel to the Sri Lankan capital Colombo for the 15th Saarc Summit beginning on Saturday.

Iran was admitted as an observer in the last SAARC Summit in New Delhi.

Mottaki will join the ministers or representatives of the other five observers from the United States, the European Union, China, Japan and South Korea.

Australia and Burma have shown interest in becoming a part of the South Asian regional bloc.

Accordingly the Colombo Summit is likely to consider their applications for observer status.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh left for Colombo Friday morning.

Terrorism is expected to be high on the agenda of the summit.

Attack on the Indian embassy in Kabul and the serial blasts in Bengaluru and Ahmedabad "[underline] how vulnerable South Asia is to the scourge of terrorism".

A "collective action" among SAARC countries was needed more than ever before, Asian Age reported here quoting the source.

The SAARC members are negotiating a convention on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters.

It was discussed at the SAARC Summit hosted by New Delhi in April 2007 but it could not be finalised because of opposition by Pakistan to the extradition clause.

... Payvand News - 08/01/08 ... --

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