Kathmandu, November 14:

Speakers at a programme today said the 13th Summit of South Asian Association for Regional

Cooperation (SAARC) has been successful in ending obstructionism in the region by beginning border cooperation, as it decided to include Afghanistan as a new member, and China and Japan as observers. “The 13th summit has ended obstructive activities and begun co-operation,” said Hiranya Lal Shrestha, Royal Nepalese Ambassador to Russia. He said but for Nepal China wouldn’t have achieved the status of observer in SAARC. According to Shrestha, the summit’s decision to include Afghanistan and take in and China and Japan as observers will help materialise King Gyanendra’s vision of transforming Nepal into a transit route between South Asian giants India and China.

Minister for Education and Sports Radha Krishna Mainali said the 13th Summit was historical as it added a new dimension to the regional grouping. Citing the King’s statement that

“terrorism is terrorism” and no double standards should be adopted in dealing with terrorists, Mainali said, “The King’s speech has given a blunt message to those who adopt double standards.” Mainali suggested the political parties participate in election as it was the only way for restoring democracy. Mohan Lohani and Dr Mohan Man Saiju stressed on implementing decisions taken by the summit. Marshal Julm Shakya, Nepali Congress leader, added democracy and press freedom should not be weeded out in the name of fighting terrorism.