Nepal Foreign Affairs (KATHMANDU, 27 September 2019) – Nepal has put forth its view that the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) should not be kept dormant for endless period.
The views were expressed in an informal meeting of SAARC Council of Ministers on Thursday afternoon. Nepal, the sitting chair of the SAARC, has been taking its leadership berth for the past five years and the need for making the regional association functional has been emphasized in the context when the 19th SAARC summit has not been held.
In the meeting, Nepal has highlighted that the notion of regional cooperation was relegated to the backburner for no convening of 19th SAARC Summit and the association was not gaining momentum except some ministerial level meetings, workshops and training.
“The SAARC Summit has not taken place. The member nations should take appropriate decision to this effect. Keeping this institution dormant for long will be otherwise”, said Minister for Foreign Affairs Pradeep Kumar Gyawali, who was chairing the meeting. He also spoke the inevitability of effective cooperation at regional level for the transformation of social-economic landscape of the SAARC which is replete with potentials and opportunities.
Sharing the challenges resulted from poverty, inequality, less development, climate change and natural calamities; he called for strong cooperation to effectively address the issues. “Our leaders had established the SAARC envisioning a peaceful, prosperous and happy South Asia some 34 years back. There is no option but to implement the SAARC programme and activities to cherish the dream by reaping shared benefits and pursuing common interests”.
Minister Gyawali also highlighted the need of integrated South Asia, economic interdependence, Asian Economic Association, peace and security and improved and expanded cooperation, mutual trust and friendship for the regional prosperity. The meeting also endorsed the appointment of Sri Lankan secretary-general of the SAARC. The meeting was attended by all Foreign Ministers of SAARC countries except from Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
Meanwhile, talking to media in brief, Pakistan’s Minster for Foreign Affairs, Shah Mehmood Qureshi informed that his country was ready to organize the 19th SAARC Summit in any time. He also shared that the date of the summit would be proposed through diplomatic channel in an appropriate time for all countries.
Likewise, Minster for Foreign Affairs of the Maldives, Abdullah Saheed also stressed the need to give momentum to the SAARC to enliven the notion of regional cooperation. Minster Gyawali expressed Nepal’s view that solution to every problem should be explored through the means of dialogue and negotiations.