Nepal says SAARC meet off as Pakistan is not ready to act against terrorists

news
03 October 2016

Pakistan on Sunday got official word from Nepal, the current chair of the South Asia Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) that the association will not hold a summit in that country unless it mends ways. The current situation in Pakistan is not conducive to host the 19th SAARC Summit, Nepal's foreign office said.

''Nepal regrets that regional environment is not conducive to host 19th SAARC Summit in Islamabad,'' it said in a statement, adding, "an environment of peace and stability is essential for a meaningful regional cooperation".

The statement coincides mass protests in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir where thousands of people took to streets to protest against the atrocities committed by the Pakistan Army and the ISI against Kashmiri people.

As current chair of SAARC, Nepal underscores need for creating a conducive regional environment for the SAARC Summit, the statement said, adding, to achieve peace and stability, SAARC member states must ensure their territories aren't used for cross-border terrorism.

Nepal "unequivocally condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations" and expresses its solidarity in the global fight against terrorism," it said, adding the country has always condemned all acts of terrorism in the region.

"Most recently, Nepal has condemned the terrorist attack on Indian Army base in Uri, Kashmir on September 18, that resulted in the loss of life of Indian soldiers," it noted.

"SAARC member states must, among others, ensure that their respective territories are not used by terrorists for cross-border terrorism," to achieve peace and stability in the region, it further stated.

Nepal "regrets that regional environment is not conducive" to host the next Summit, earlier scheduled for November 9-10 in Islamabad, it said, adding that host Pakistan has informed it about the postponement of the meet.

It said it will initiate "necessary consultation" for holding the next summit. Nepal said it would hold talks with member countries to press for holding the postponed Summit.

"As the current Chair of SAARC, Nepal underscores the need for creating a conducive regional environment for the SAARC Summit. Nepal will initiate necessary consultation on successfully holding the 19th Summit with the participation of all member states," the statement said.

Nepalese foreign minister Prakash Sharan Mahat had said SAARC member states must be sensitive towards ensuring the participation of every member for holding the summit.

The 19th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation Summit, scheduled to be held in Islamabad from 9-10 November, was postponed after India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka pulled out, citing terrorism concerns in the region.

He also said that SAARC summit cannot be held even if one member is absent.

The eight-member South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) includes Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, the Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.





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