After India, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Afghanistan pulled out, Sri Lanka has become the fifth country today confirming that it will not participate in the annual SAARC summit which is scheduled in November this year in Islamabad.
Sri Lankan ministry of Foreign Affairs, in official communication sent to SAARC chair Nepal today said, “Sri Lanka regrets that the prevailing environment in the region is not conducive for holding the 19th SAARC Summit in Islamabad on November 9 and 10 2016.
The General Provisions of the SAARC Charter require that decisions at all levels shall be taken on the basis of unanimity, and this applies to the convening of meetings of Heads of State or Government of SAARC Member States as well.
Peace and security are essential elements for the success of meaningful regional cooperation for the benefit of the people of South Asia. As a founding member of SAARC, committed to regional cooperation, Sri Lanka hopes that the steps required to ensuring our region’s peace and security will be taken to create an environment that is conducive for the pursuit of regional cooperation. Sri Lanka condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, and stresses in this regard, the need to deal with the issue of terrorism in the region in a decisive manner”.
A SAARC summit can take place only when leaders of all member countries are present. India, the largest member of the eight-nation South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), announced its decision to pull out hours after Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit was summoned to South Block and handed over Pakistan’s “proof of cross-border origin” of the September 18 Uri terror attack.
India is also planning to revoke the Most Favoured Nation status to Pakistan in trade, in another punishing measure. India has been increasing its diplomatic offensive against Pakistan over the past few days for its open backing of the Kashmir unrest and specially after the terror attack on an army camp in Uri on September 18 that left 19 soldiers dead. (India Today )