Asian solidarity

South Asian leaders ended a two-day summit yesterday with a preferential trade pact and a call to turn the region into an economic powerhouse. They also pledged to eradicate poverty in the region, home to one-fifth of the world's population, by the year 2002, and called for the creation of a development bank to finance jointly sponsored industrial ventures, Reuter reports from Dhaka.

A 'Dhaka Declaration' issued in the Bangladeshi capital expressed concern about a spate of 'terrorist' activities in the region and drug abuse, particularly among young people.