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    NEW DELHI, January 6, 2004. /RIA Novosti correspondent Valery Sevryukov/ -- The next summit of the South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC) will be held in the first half of January 2005 in Bangladesh. The decision was taken unanimously by heads of state and government attending the 12th SAARC summit in Pakistan that closed on Tuesday.

    In compliance with the SAARC Charter, summits are held alternately in each of the member states in the alphabetic order. The Association comprises Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

    The SAARC aims at developing South Asian economies and was set up in December 1985 at a conference of heads of state and government from the seven countries in Dacca.

    During the present summit the participants digressed from its Charter that does not provide for bilateral talks within the summit's framework. Yesterday Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee met his Pakistani counterpart Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali and the country's president Pervez Musharraf. Apart from this, Indian and Pakistan foreign ministers also held separate talks.

    According to both parties, the constructive exchange of opinions on a broad range of issues opened a way for resuming a political dialogue to normalize bilateral relations.

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