PM calls for amending Saarc Charter

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Sep 30, 2016-

At a time when the fate of 19th Saarc Summit to be held in Islamabad hangs in the balance amid tensions between India and Pakistan, Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal on Thursday said that the Saarc Charter should be amended and called on the Saarc Secretariat, which is based in Kathmandu, for introducing reforms.

India’s announcement to pull out of the regional summit citing an increase in cross-border terrorist attacks, uncertainty looms over Saarc and the 19th conference scheduled for November in the Pakistani capital. 

Speaking at a programme “Saarc Effectiveness” on Thursday in the Capital, PM Dahal also complained about the poor performance of the regional bloc compared to other regional groups. 

Nepal is the current chair of Saarc. The status of the implementation of past agreements and understanding under Saarc have been “very poor”, said PM Dahal while calling for overall restructuring of the Saarc process. 

“The overall process of Saarc over the last 30 years of its establishment has become too slow and the implementation of the past agreements and commitments is very poor,” he said. “South Asia has vast opportunities and it is endowed with abundant natural and human resources, and we have expertise in many sectors, but we are lagging behind in many fields as compared to other international organisations,” he added.

But PM Dahal neither mentioned nor made any statement about simmering tension between India and Pakistan. 

After four member countries namely India, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan pulled out of the Islamabad Summit, Nepal as the chair of Saarc has urged member countries to ensure that the conference is held on time. 

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday issued a statement calling the member states to create conducive environment for the 19th Saarc Summit. 

“Nepal strongly urges that a conducive environment be created for the 19th SAARC Summit soon by ensuring the participation of all member states in line with the spirit of the Saarc Charter,” the statement said. 

“The government of Nepal has received communications from the SAARC Secretariat transmitting the diplomatic notes from four Saarc member states namely Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan and India in which they have conveyed their inability to participate in the 19th Saarc summit scheduled for November 9 and 10 in Islamabad, stating that current regional environment is not conducive to the successful holding of the Summit. We have taken this development seriously,” it added. 

Organised by the Labour and International Relations of Parliament, representatives from various Saarc nations are attending the two-day conference in the Capital to seek effectiveness of Saarc. 

Published: 30-09-2016 08:06

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