SAARC Chair Nepal has said it will hold discussions with member-states and take “necessary” steps to hold the next summit, which was postponed after five countries, including India, pulled out citing an environment that was not right for the meeting’s success.
Minister for Foreign Affairs Prakash Sharan Mahat said Nepal would take necessary initiatives and hold discussions with member-states to press for holding the 19th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation Summit.
The 19th SAARC Summit was scheduled to take place in the Pakistani capital Islamabad from November 9 to 10, but was postponed on Friday following the pull-out by India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Afghanistan indirectly blaming Pakistan for creating an environment which was not right for the success of the meet. Later Sri Lanka also pulled out of the summit.
Citing continuous cross-border terrorism by Pakistan, India said last week that “in the prevailing circumstances, the Government of India is unable to participate in the proposed Summit in Islamabad.” Mahat said SAARC member-states must be sensitive towards organising the Summit by ensuring all members’ participation.
“SAARC is an important forum for advancing regional cooperation and development,” the minister said yesterday after returning from the 71st UN General Assembly (UNGA). Harmonious relations between the member-states would enhance utilisation of the association and encourage regional development, he said.
SAARC member states include Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, the Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.