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SAARC Chair Nepal says environment not conducive to hold regional summit

Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi (C) is greeted by Nepali authorities upon his arrival at Tribhuvan Airport for the 18th SAARC Summit on November 25, 2014 Photograph: (AFP)

PTI Kathmandu, Central Development Region, Nepal Oct 02, 2016, 11.35 AM (IST)

The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) chair Nepal today expressed regret that the regional environment is "not conducive" to host the 19th edition of the SAARC summit. 

 

Five member states, including India, recently pulled out of the two-day summit that was scheduled to be held in Islamabad, Pakistan on November 8 and November 9. 

 

Taking a jibe at host-nation Pakistan, Nepal said that member states must ensure their territories are not 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," Nepal's foreign affairs ministry said in a statement, according to multiple reports,  adding the country has always condemned all acts of terrorism in the region. 

 

It's pertinent to mention that Indo-Pak strain has scuttled the SAARC summit after the September 18 Uri attack in Kashmir and ensuing war of words between the two neighbouring nations at United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). 

 

Indian Army on Thursday also claimed to have killed several militants in Pakistan-administered Kashmir as it carried out surgical strikes in the region in response to Uri attack. 

 

India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Afghanistan gradually pullet out the SAARC summit after the Uri attack indirectly blaming Pakistan for creating an environment which was not right for the success of the meet. 

 

Meanwhile, Nepal today, was quoted as saying by Indian media that it strongly believes that "an environment of peace and stability is essential for a meaningful regional cooperation".

 

"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.

 

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

 

Nepal "regrets that regional environment is not conducive" to host the next summit. 

 

Earlier, Nepal's minister for foreign affairs Prakash Sharan Mahat was quoted as saying by Indian news agency PTI that  Nepal is likely to take necessary measures to hold discussions with member states to press for holding the 19th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation Summit, 

 

It said it will initiate "necessary consultation" for holding the next 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.

 

“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. 
 
(WION with inputs from agencies) 

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