Nepal gives a pass to host Saarc meet

  • The regional body has failed to hold a meeting of transport ministers within 3 months of the summit
- ANIL GIRI, Kathmandu
Nepal gives a pass to host Saarc meet

Jul 6, 2015-

Following the 18th Saarc Summit in the Capital last November, Nepal will not be hosting the first meeting of a Saarc body citing the Great Earthquake of April 25.

As the chair of the regional block, Nepal was supposed to hold the 50th meeting of the Saarc Programming Committee. However, due to undue circumstances following the earthquake, the meeting will now be held in Islamabad, Pakistan.

The Nepali delegation, led by joint secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ramesh Prasad Khanal, is expected to lobby for trimming down the Saarc regional centres. The two-day meeting will kick off on Wednesday.

According to the general Saarc practice, the host country convenes three meetings—a joint secretary level programming committee meet, a foreign secretary level standing committee meet and a foreign minister level meeting.

The foreign ministers also meet on an annual basis on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York. A home minister level meeting is also hosted by the summit organisers at times.

Stating that the failure to hold the meeting sets a negative tradition, a senior government official said: “Nepal should have hosted the meet, it was not a positive signal that the meeting was routed to Pakistan.”

Arranged by the Saarc Secretariat, all member states divide the expenditure incurred during the meeting.

“At a time when Nepal had successfully hosted the International Donor Conference, it does not make sense why the country could not hold the meeting due to the earthquake,” said the official.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Tara Pokhrel admitted to the shortcomings of

the government.

“The meeting, even though it was scheduled to take place in Nepal, had to be differed following the earthquake. Pakistan then offered to host it,” he clarified.

Apart from the programming committee meeting, which the recent summit

in Kathmandu had agreed to hold twice a year, the Saarc has also failed to hold

a meeting of the transport ministers within three months of the summit in order to finalise the Saarc Motor Vehicles Agreement and Saarc Regional Railways Agreement.

The fifth session of the standing committee (Dhaka, December 1985) had set up the programming committee to assist the standing committee in matters relating to: selection of regional projects, including their location, cost-sharing modalities among the member states, and mobilisation of external resources; inter-sectoral priority of work programme; and review of the Calendar of Activities.

The meeting, which usually precedes the session of the standing committee, is also mandated to coordinate implementation of the approved Saarc programmes and activities.


Published: 07-07-2015 07:59

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