Saturday, October 1, 2016

Create 'conducive' environment for summit: Maldives to SAARC nations

MALE: The Maldives on Friday asked SAARC member states to create an environment "conducive" for holding the grouping's summit which has been postponed following a pull-out by five countries, including India.

"The Government of Maldives has urged the member states of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) to create an environment conducive for holding the 19th SAARC Summit," a Maldives Foreign Ministry statement said.

It said the appeal by the Maldivian government follows the decisions by some of the SAARC member states who have expressed their inability to attend the summit in Islamabad scheduled for November due to terrorism, and threats to regional and international peace.

"The Maldives condemns international terrorism, especially those originating from outside," the statement said. SAARC Summit can be convened only with the participation of Heads of State or Governments of all of its member states.

"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," the statement said.

The 19th SAARC Summit was scheduled to be held from November 9 to 10 in Islamabad.

Besides India, three other SAARC members -- Bangladesh, Bhutan and Afghanistan -- pulled out of the summit, indirectly blaming Pakistan for creating an environment which is not right for the successful holding of the meet.

Sri Lanka also pulled out of the SAARC Summit on Friday, becoming the fifth country to do so.

Citing continuous cross border terrorism by Pakistan, India had announced earlier this week that "in the prevailing circumstances, the Government of India is unable to participate in the proposed Summit in Islamabad."

SAARC member states include Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, the Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

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