Finance ministers of SAARC countries meet

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The 11th informal meeting of finance ministers of South Asian association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) concluded here today laid special emphasis on economic unity (cfly{s PsLs/0f of South Asia and establishing South Asian Economic Association. 
All participants in the meeting, where finance ministers and high officials of all eight member countries were present, have the same voice that support of the multi-purpose bodies including Asian Development Bank would be indispensable to uplift the living standard of 1.70 billion people of South Asia. 
On the occasion, the finance ministers expressed happiness over some progress in the path of regional cooperation promotion for economic prosperity of South Asia and increase of economic and financial cooperation. 
They also stressed the need of mutual cooperation and collaboration in protection and promotion of investment, expansion of inter-regional investment, collaboration and partnership in service and business, end of dual tax system, trade facilitation, linking member countries via water, land and air route, increasing energy cooperation and infrastructure development. 
Giving introductory speech from the post of incumbent chairman of finance ministers of SAARC, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Krishna Bahadur Mahara, ran and concluded the meeting. 
Recalling that the second meeting of finance ministers of SAARC countries had taken place at Kyoto of Japan on the same day one decade ago, Finance Minister Mahara expressed gratitude to ADB for organising such meeting in side line of 50th annual meeting of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) Board of Directors. 
Finance Minister Mahara said that SAARC countries have been benefitted from the development projects run by ADB, saying poverty alleviation and economic development are objective of the ADB. 
Insisting on the need of honest implementation of programmes endorsed by the Islamabad SAARC Finance Secretaries' meeting held last year, he sought additional support from the ADB to ensure economic cooperation and development in the regional-level. 
ADB Vice President Wencai Zhang informed the meeting that projects intended for South Asia's economic development and regional integration were the top priority of the bank which was supporting the South Asian nation through the means of South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC). 
Pledging to provide further monetary aid to the SAARC nations, he said the goals of economic development could be achieved through mutual cooperation. 
SAARC Secretary General Amjad Hussain B Sial spoke on the essentiality of the implementation of commitment to the concepts of establishment of South Asian Economic Union, free trade zone, common market, Customs union and collective economic and financial union in the region expressed by the heads of the states and governments of member states during the 18th Kathmandu SAARC Summit. 
He took the opportunity to share the information that the SAARC sub-regional initiative on investment was expected to give a final shape to the draft of multilateral agreement on promotion and protection of investment within the SAARC prepared by India through its meeting scheduled to take place in New Delhi next month. 
Giving his concluding remarks in the meeting, chair Mahara said Nepal's abundant water resources could not be properly used and underscored the need of collective and integrated efforts to enforce the ' draft framework' on energy regional cooperation.

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