19th SAARC Summit

Nepal for SAARC summit as scheduled

Published On: September 29, 2016 07:05 AM NPT By: Ashok Dahal  | @ashokpillar

The SAARC Charter states that “Decisions at all levels shall be taken on the basis of unanimity.”

KATHMANDU, Sept 28: Nepal, the current chair of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), has said that it is for holding the 19th SAARC Summit as per the plan, in Islamabad in November.

Acting Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Jhabindra Aryal said that it is up to the host country to decide whether or not to postpone the event. “We as the chair country are ready to cooperate and ensure better coordination for making it possible to convene the summit on schedule,” Aryal told Republica. “Our emphasis is to carry out all SAARC activities as per the plan and schedule.”

He also said that Nepal wouldn’t take any new decision without first hearing from host country Pakistan.

“The host country Pakistan has so far not officially sought our opinion in this connection.

We still hope they will talk to the countries that have reportedly pulled out of participation and convince them to participate in the scheduled event,” said Aryal.

Nepal’s statement comes at a time when it has become unlikely for the event to be held in Islamabad in November, following  announcement by some of the member countries about their inability to attend the summit in the Pakistani capital in the given time.

India, issuing a strongly-worded statement Tuesday night, announced that it was unable to participate in the proposed SAARC summit in Islamabad in November. 

“India has conveyed to current SAARC Chair Nepal that increasing cross-border terrorist attacks in the region and growing interference in the internal affairs of member states by one country have created an environment that is not conducive to the successful holding of the 19th SAARC Summit in Islamabad in November 2016,” reads a statement issued by spokesperson of Indian External Affairs Ministry Vikas Swarup.

Meanwhile, Pakistan has said that the Indian announcement is unfortunate. 

Also, other member states Bhutan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan have reportedly announced to pull their participation from the summit.

The announcements of inability to participate in the event by multiple countries have made it almost impossible to hold the summit.

The SAARC Charter has a provision that states that “Decisions at all levels shall be taken on the basis of unanimity.”

Nepal was elected Chair of SAARC for two years from the 18th SAARC Summit held in Kathmandu in November 2014. Nepal was scheduled to hand over the Chair of SAARC to Pakistan after the 19th summit. 

Meanwhile, foreign minister in the previous government Kamal Thapa, who is also chairman of Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal, has said that Nepal should take initiatives to make the regional organization effective.

“As current Chair of SAARC, Nepal should intensify diplomatic efforts to save the regional organization and help find common ground to stand together,” he wrote on twitter on Wednesday.

Former foreign minister Ramesh Nath Pandey also stressed the need of Nepal, as current chair, taking initiatives to sort out problems that have surfaced regarding Pakistan as the venue for the upcoming summit.

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