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Jaishankar, Qureshi confirm presence at informal SAARC foreign ministers' meet in September

File photo of External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Pak Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi. Photograph:( Agencies )

WION New Delhi, India Aug 31, 2019, 09.17 PM (IST) Written By: Sidhant Sibal Edited By: Sparshita Saxena

India's External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi have confirmed their participation at the annual SAARC meet of foreign ministers on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly starting from September 17. 

The meeting will take place on September 26 in New York and a confirmation has been given to SAARC's chair, Nepal.

This will be for the first time both Indian and Pak foreign ministers will be under the same roof this year. This comes in the backdrop of New Delhi removing the special status for Jammu and Kashmir.

Last year, India had snubbed Pakistan at the informal SAARC meet of foreign ministers and strongly raised the issue of terror. India's then foreign minister, Sushma Swaraj and her Pak counterpart Qureshi were present during the meet. 

The meeting happened at The Westin Grand Central Hotel in New York and was attended by all SAARC members. The meeting, that was to go on for two hours, concluded in just over an hour with Swaraj making her statement and leaving.

Highlighting the number of threats and incidents that endanger South Asia, India's then external affairs minister Sushma had Swaraj said, terrorism remains the single largest threat to peace and stability in our region and it is "necessary that we eliminate the scourge of terrorism in all its forms, without any discrimination and end the ecosystem of its support."

Pak FM Qureshi was at his usual undiplomatic best who stated, "The EAM left midway, maybe she wasn't feeling well. I listened to her statement. She talked of regional cooperation. How is regional cooperation possible, when everybody is ready to sit and talk and you're blocking that?"

India's focus has been on the BIMSTEC since the cancellation of SAARC Summit in 2016 in the aftermath of the URI terror attack. Remember, India - along with Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Maldives - had boycotted the summit in Islamabad.