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Nepal urges ‘conducive environment’ for Saarc summit

KATHMANDU: Nepal urged the South Asian nations on Thursday to create a “conducive environment” so that a Saarc (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) summit could be held as scheduled in November in Islamabad.

Nepal, the current chair of Saarc, said that four of the eight member nations had indicated they would not attend the Nov 9-10 summit.

Tensions between Pakistan and India have been high since the Sept 18 militant attack on an army base at Uri in held Kashmir in which 18 Indian soldiers were killed.

India, which alleged that the militants were from a Pakistan-based group, announced on Tuesday that it would not participate in the summit. Soon after India’s announcement, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Bhutan also said they would not attend the summit in Pakistan.

In a statement issued by its foreign ministry, Nepal strongly urged for a conducive environment so that all members of the bloc could attend the summit.

Saarc, consisting of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Pakistan, was founded in 1985 to promote economic cooperation in the region, but tensions between India and Pakistan had repeatedly blocked the progress.

Published in Dawn, September 30th, 2016

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