Islamabad SAARC summit cancelledThe SAARC summit of 2016 will be cancelled, a senior diplomatic source in Kathmandu said, on Wednesday, 28th September 2016. The confirmation from Nepal, the current SAARC Chair, came hours after Bangladesh, Bhutan and Afghanistan followed India’s decision to stay away from the November summit to be held in Islamabad.
“There is no question of holding the summit if four countries declare their unwillingness to participate. As the current SAARC Chair, Nepal has the responsibility of seeking a solution to such pre-summit disputes but under the current circumstances nothing much can be attempted. We will do the due formalities and will declare the summit of 2016 should be cancelled due to non-participation of member states,” said a Kathmandu-based diplomatic source.
The source, however, pointed out that Nepal has not taken any decision on the summit as it is the current SAARC Chair.
“We wish that a diplomatic breakthrough could be found with a possible change of venue but no one can guarantee success of such steps as four countries have already declared their inability to attend the summit without seeking an alternate venue,” he said.
The atmospherics for the cancellation began building up after Bangladesh, Bhutan and Afghanistan sent formal official communications to Kathmandu on September 27 almost immediately after India expressed inability to participate in the summit due to “prevailing circumstances” and stepped up diplomatic pressure on Pakistan after the September 18 attack on the military base in Uri.
Like India that cited “cross-border terrorist attacks in the region” as a reason for boycotting the summit, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Afghanistan too expressed concern about the same issue in their official notes to Kathmandu.
Pak claim: However, Unfazed by the decision of India and three other South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) member nations to not participate in the grouping’s summit, Pakistan said it would go ahead with the event in November.
Foreign Office spokesperson Nafees Zakaria said Pakistan would host the 19th SAARC summit in November, Radio Pakistan reported.
Mr. Zakaria was quoted as saying that it was learnt from the External Affairs Ministry’s tweet that India is not going to participate in the SAARC Summit.Mr. Zakaria called the decision “unfortunate.” “While we have not received any official communication in this regard, the Indian announcement is unfortunate,” he said.