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Nepal hopes 'conducive atmosphere' is created for holding Saarc summit

By Ians English

Kathmandu, Sep 29: Nepal, the current Chair of Saarc, on Wednesday confirmed that four nations -- India, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Afghanistan -- have conveyed they are pulling out of the 19th summit in Islamabad, and urged for a "conducive environment to be created soon" to ensure that all member states can participate.

In a statement, the Nepal Foreign Ministry said the four nations pulled out citing that "current regional environment is not conducive to the successful holding of the Summit".

4 members to boycott Saarc summit

Nepal said it has taken the development seriously.

"As the current chair of SAARC, the government of Nepal strongly urges that a conducive environment be created soon to ensure the participation of all member states in the 19th SAARC summit in line with the spirit of the SAARC Charter," it said.

With four of the eight nations backing out, the 19th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation summit, slated for November 9-10 in Islamabad, automatically stands postponed.

Pakistan has said it has not received any official note on the summit from Nepal.

A final decision rests on the current Saarc Secretary General Arjun Bahadur Thapa, who is currently in New York and will return in two days.

The Saarc process is based on consensus, and even if one member does not attend the summit it automatically stands postponed or cancelled.

India on Tuesday announced that it was pulling out due to increasing cross-border terrorist attacks in the region and growing interference in the internal affairs of Saarc member states "by one country" which have created an environment that was not conducive to the successful holding of the 19th Saarc summit.

Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Bhutan also conveyed their inability to attend on Tuesday, citing increased terrorism in the region.



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