Nepal hopeful of holding SAARC summit soon | 2019-01-12

Nepal hopeful of holding SAARC summit soon

Our Correspondent

11th January, 2019 10:37:16 printer

New Delhi: Nepalese Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali says he is hopeful that a SAARC meeting will be held soon.

Nepal on Friday strongly pitched for a South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit, saying differences should be resolved through dialogue and the grouping should collectively deal with terrorism and other key challenges facing the region. He is currently visiting India.

Nepalese Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali cited last year’s historic talks between the US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore, saying dialogue was the only way to address differences.

“If the US President Trump and North Korea’s Kim can meet, then why not leaders of other countries,” he asked during an interaction with a group of foreign policy experts and reporters.

It is Pakistan’s turn to host the summit. However, India, citing continued support to cross-border terrorism by Islamabad, has been maintaining that it is difficult to proceed with the summit.

The 2016 SAARC Summit was to be held in Islamabad. But after a deadly terrorist attack on an Indian Army camp in Jammu and Kashmir that year, India expressed its inability to participate in it.

The summit was called off after Bangladesh, Bhutan and Afghanistan also declined to participate in the meeting. Maldives and Sri Lanka are the seventh and eighth members of the group.

“There is no alternative to sitting together and mitigating differences. The problems we are facing cannot be resolved alone. We need to put collective efforts to deal with various key challenges like climate change and terrorism,” Gyawali said.

Nepalese foreign minister, who held bilateral talks with Indian external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj on Thursday, said his country had been raising the issue of the SAARC summit with India.

“I am hopeful the summit will be held soon,” he said.

SAARC summits are usually held biennially, hosted by a member-state in alphabetical order. The member-state hosting the summit assumes the chair of the association. The 2014 SAARC Summit held in Kathmandu was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.