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Pakistan keen to host the 19th SAARC summit – Sartaj Aziz

(UDHAYAM, ISLAMABAD) – Pakistan has expressed hope that it could soon host the 19th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit which was postponed after India boycotted it.

Pakistan Prime Minister’s advisor on foreign policy Sartaj Aziz today (28th Saturday) alleged that New Delhi “impeded” the grouping’s process.

Pakistan was scheduled to host the 19th SAARC Summit in Islamabad in November last year however postponed with India boycotting the summit. Nepal, the chair of SAARC, confirmed that it would be impossible to hold the summit without all the members being present.

Pakistan Prime Minister’s advisor Aziz during a meeting with the outgoing SAARC Secretary General Arjun Bahadur Thapa said Pakistan was looking forward to welcoming SAARC leaders for the 19th Summit in November but it was postponed when “India impeded the SAARC process and violated the spirit of the SAARC Charter.”

The Pakistan Foreign Office in a statement said, “He also reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment to regional cooperation under the umbrella of SAARC for promoting welfare of the people of South Asia, improving their quality of life, economic progress, social uplift and cultural cooperation.”

Aziz said that due to several impediments and challenges, SAARC has been unable to fulfill the vision that was laid out for it by its founding members.

Previously Minister of Foreign Affairs Mangala Samaraweera said as a founding member of SAARC, Sri Lanka has been an active participant to realize the objectives envisioned in the SAARC charter.

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 have repeatedly blocked progress.


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