SAARC foreign ministers meeting scheduled to be held on UNGA sidelines cancelled
New York, Sep 21: The meeting of the foreign ministers of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), which was scheduled to be held here on the sidelines of the high-level 76th UN General Assembly session on Saturday, has been cancelled due to lack of concurrence from all member states, sources close to the development told the ANI.
The SAARC Foreign Ministers meeting are traditionally held on the sidelines of the annual UNGA session in New York. The SAARC meeting, slated to be held on September 25, is now cancelled. Reports claim that the Pakistan government demanded the member nations to allow a representative from the Taliban to attend the event and it was opposed by other nations.
Last year, the event was held virtually due to Covid-19, but this year it was scheduled to be held in-person.
In 2020, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had said that the SAARC must overcome three key challenges of cross-border terrorism, blocking of connectivity and obstruction in trade, a clear criticism of Pakistan.
Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi was also among the participants of the meeting which was organised in continuation of a tradition of informal exchanges among the foreign ministers of the grouping on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.
Tensions between India and Pakistan have spiked since New Delhi abrogated the Article 370 of the Constitution to revoke the special status of Jammu and Kashmir on August 5, 2019.
India's decision evoked strong reactions from Pakistan, which downgraded diplomatic ties and expelled the Indian envoy.
India has categorically told the international community that the scrapping of the Article 370 was its internal matter. India has told Pakistan that it desires normal neighbourly relations with Islamabad in an environment free of terror, hostility and violence.
India has said the onus is on Pakistan to create an environment free of terror and hostility. PTI YAS RS AKJ RS