Sri Lanka expresses unwillingness to attend regional summit

The aim of the meet is to counter terrorism and strengthen anti-terrorism mechanisms in SAARC. Photograph:( AFP )

WION New Delhi, Delhi, India Sep 30, 2016, 11.11 AM (IST)

Sri Lanka on Friday said that the prevailing conditions in South Asia were not conducive for holding the regional summit of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).

"Peace and security are essential elements for the success of meaningful regional cooperation for the benefit of the people of South Asia. As a founding member of SAARC, committed to regional cooperation, Sri Lanka hopes that the steps required to ensuring our region’s peace and security will be taken to create an environment that is conducive for the pursuit of regional cooperation," read a statement issued by the ministry of foreign affairs in Colombo.

Sri Lanka thus expressed its unwillingness to attend the upcoming SAARC summit in Islamabad.

The country stressed on the need for a unanimous decision-making by the region at all levels.

Four other countries have earlier conveyed their decision to pull out of this year’s summit - India, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Afghanistan.

The countries wrote to Nepal, the current Chair of SAARC, stating rising terrorism in the region as the reason behind the withdrawal.

(WION with inputs from agencies)