Nepal to hold talks with member states to salvage SAARC Summit

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Nepal, the current South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Chair, on Saturday said it will hold talks with member states to push for holding the group’s annual summit at the earliest.

Nepal said it is Pakistan’s responsibility as a host nation to ensure a conducive environment to hold the summit.

Foreign minister Prakash Sharan Mahat said all necessary initiatives would be taken to ensure the participation of all eight member states.

Addressing a press conference, Mahat said SAARC states must be sensitive towards holding the 19th SAARC Summit which was postponed after five countries pulled out, including India.

“SAARC is an important forum for advancing regional cooperation and development,” the minister said.

The conference was scheduled to be held in Pakistan’s capital Islamabad in November. India, followed by Bangladesh, Bhutan, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka, refused to travel to Pakistan for the summit citing security concerns.

Continued tensions along the Line of Control and cross border terrorism by Pakistan made the environment unconducive for holding the meeting, India had announced earlier in the week.

The decision by the five member states forced Nepal to postpone the summit, as the summit cannot be held even if one member refuses to attend.
Mahat said that Pakistan as host should make a conducive environment for holding the summit.

Mahat also urged for a decision to be made on holding the summit, saying it is imperative to encourage harmonious relations between the member states to enhance regional development.

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