Nepal on Friday urged member nations of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation to resolve their difference through dialogue and pitched for the reconvening of the summit, which was last held in 2014.
SAARC summit is usually held once every two years and is hosted by one of the eight member states – India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan and the Maldives. The last SAARC summit was held in Kathmandu.
In November 2016, the summit was to be held in Islamabad, but was postponed after India pulled out from the event. India had backed out in the aftermath of an attack on an Army facility at Uri in Jammu and Kashmir. India had said that the attack was orchestrated by a Pakistan-based militant group. Afghanistan, Bhutan and Bangladesh followed suit and refused to participate in the summit.
“There is no alternative to sitting together and mitigating differences. The problems we [the region] are facing cannot be resolved alone,” Nepal Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali, who is in India, said during an interaction with foreign policy experts, PTI reported. “We need to put collective efforts to deal with various key challenges like climate change and terrorism.”
He added: “If US President Trump and North Korea’s Kim can meet, then why not [leaders of] other countries?” Gyawali was referring to the summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un in June. Another summit between the two leaders is expected soon.
Gyawali held bilateral talks with India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on the sidelines of the Raisina Dialogue in New Delhi on Thursday. He said that he had raised the matter of reconvening the SAARC summit with India. “I am hopeful the summit will be held soon,” Gyawali said.