The Edition


Diplomatic Maldives sidesteps SAARC row to urge early summit date

Mohamed Visham
02 October 2016, MVT 14:12
Leaders pose for a photograph during the SAARC summit held in Nepal in 2014.
Mohamed Visham
02 October 2016, MVT 14:12

Maldives on Thursday refused to take sides in the mass pullout from the 19th SAARC Summit in Pakistan and instead urged fellow south Asian nations to create an environment conducive for holding regional sit-down

Five nations including India, pulled out of the regional sit-down following the Uri terror attack blamed on Pakistani terrorists.

Sri Lanka on Friday became the fifth nation to express its unwillingness to attend the upcoming 19th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation or SAARC Summit, saying the prevailing environment in the region is not conducive for holding the summit.

Following the pull-out Pakistan has now said it will announce new dates for the summit which originally slated to be held from November 9-10 in Islamabad.

The unprecedented boycott of the summit follows India's announcement of diplomatically isolating Pakistan, which it blames for harbouring terrorists including those who struck the Army base in Uri earlier this month killing 20 soldiers.

In a statement, the Pakistan Foreign Office said, it "deplores India's decision to impede the SAARC process" by not attending the summit.

It claimed that the spirit of the SAARC Charter is "violated" when a member state casts the shadow of its bilateral problems on the multilateral forum for regional cooperation.

The Maldives government in a statement on Friday condemned international terrorism, but urged its regional neighbours to convene the Summit at an early date.

The SAARC Summit can be convened only with the participation of leaders of all of its member states.