SAARC member states to meet in Kathmandu

KATHMANDU, Jan. 29 (Xinhua) — Senior officials of the eight member states of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) will meet this week in the Nepalese capital Kathmandu to attend the Programming Committee, officials said on Sunday.

This will be the first meeting of the SAARC member countries since the postponement of the 19th SAARC summit in Islamabad last November.

During the meeting, SAARC member states will discuss a number of issues including the budget of the SAARC Secretariat and five regional centers of SAARC, officials of the Nepalese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

Nepal, current chair of the SAARC, had decided to postpone the SAARC Summit until further notice after four nations Afghanistan, Bhutan, Bangladesh and India decided to boycott the summit in Islamabad scheduled for November 9 and 10 last year.

India and three other nations had blamed Pakistan for not creating conducive environment and not cooperating on combating cross-border terrorism in South Asia for holding the SAARC Summit, while Pakistan vehemently denied the charges.

Before Nepal’s decision to postpone the summit, Pakistan, the host nation of the summit, had announced postponement of the summit amid escalating tensions between India and Pakistan.

SAARC is a regional body founded in 1985 in South Asia, comprising Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

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