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Maldives urges for convening of SAARC summit at early date

Five SAARC member states have expressed their inability to attend the Summit due to terrorism, and threats to regional and international peace. In photo: Heads of SAARC's member states during the closing session of the 18th SAARC summit. Photograph: (AFP)

WION New Delhi India Sep 30, 2016, 07.51 PM (IST) Umaima Rasheed Hussain

The Government of Maldives has urged on Friday the member states of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) to create an environment conducive for holding the 19th SAARC Summit.

"The Maldives encouraged States to provide a valuable opportunity for the leaders to discuss critical issues facing the region and expressed hope that the required measures will be taken by relevant member states to convene the Summit at an early date." stated in a statement by Maldivian government. 

The appeal by the tropical nation follows the decisions by some of the SAARC member states who have expressed their inability to attend the Summit scheduled for November due to terrorism, and threats to regional and international peace. 

"The Maldives condemns international terrorism, especially those originating from outside" 

India was the first country to pull out of SAARC summit followed by Bangladesh, Bhutan and Afghanistan. On Friday, Sri Lanka became the 5th country to pull out of the regional summit leaving the current SAARC chair Nepal, and the host country Pakistan and the Maldives. 

While both Maldives and Nepal has urged the South Asian nations to create a conducive environment for the summit, Pakistan on Friday postponed the SAARC summit that was to be held in Islamabad next month. 

SAARC summit can be convened only with the participation of heads of state or governments of all of its member states. 

The 19th SAARC summit was scheduled to be held from 9th to 10th November 2016 in Islamabad, Pakistan.

SAARC was founded in 1985 and it has eight member states - Afghanistan, India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and the Maldives. The last summit was held in Kathmandu in 2014. In 2011, the Maldives hosted the 17th SAARC summit.

(WION)

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