Colombo: Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Monday commemorated the 30th anniversary of the SAARC Charter Day by calling for more robust cooperation among the eight member states, that would result in tangible benefits to the people of South Asia.
In a message, Rajapaksa said that the region is characterised by diverse cultures, ethnic groups, religions and languages, nurturing over centuries the finest works of philosophy, arts and culture, music, dance, attire and cuisine.
He noted that common civilisational links bind the nations of the region through values of unity and tolerance.
The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation's (SAARC) strength is in its diversity and harmonious coexistence, according to the Sri Lankan president.
Rajapaksa said Sri Lanka, "as a founding member, attributes high importance to the purposes and principles of the SAARC Charter".
The regional will to cooperate in many important areas under the SAARC framework has manifested itself in a number of landmark developments, which has served to provide greater stimulus and vitality to the SAARC process, he said.
"It is important to take cognisance of the fact that our achievements over the last three decades within the SAARC have been below the region's full potential. There is a reservoir of political will among the member states. I therefore, reiterate my call that we break the shackles of bureaucracy and pursue a co-operative, action-oriented path, thus leading SAARC towards a framework for more robust cooperation, which would result in tangible benefits to the people of South Asia,” Rajapaksa said.
“In pursuance of our common endeavour, I reiterate Sri Lanka's firm support to the work of the SAARC in taking forward the objectives of the organisation in the spirit of collective responsibility," he added.