September 28, 2018 (MLN): Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi held India as the only country responsible for the delay in the holding of the Summit of the South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC), despite the presence of a general positivity within the rest of the membership to move forward with the holding of the Summit that has already been delayed by two years.
He expressed these views while talking to media personnel after participating in an informal meeting of SAARC’s Council of Ministers held on the sidelines of the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly in New York.
“She talked about regional cooperation at the meeting. My question is that how is regional cooperation possible if the nations in the region are ready to sit down and you are the obstacle in those talks,” he said referring to his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj who left the meeting abruptly.
“She left the meeting midway. May be she was not feeling well,” he said.
In his formal statement at the meeting, the foreign minister said, “Pakistan remains ready to hold the SAARC summit, at any date agreed to by the SAARC member states.
“Unless we meet and talks, how can we make any progress,” he said while talking to reporters.
The remarks came days after cancellation by India of the proposed talks between Indian and Pakistani foreign ministers in New York.
Earlier, speaking at the SAARC meeting, the foreign minister reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to SAARC’s principles and objectives and highlighted the Organization’s potential for promoting progress and prosperity in South Asia. He stressed that Pakistan considered SAARC an important platform for organizing a collective response to regional challenges, particularly the region’s development needs.
Pakistan, he said, continued to insist that there was no alternate to communication, engagement and dialogue, and the attempt to scuttle the SAARC process, was actually the major impediment in ensuring the prosperity, eliminating poverty and instituting development for the peoples of the region.
He also pointed out that there was a general positivity within the rest of the membership to move forward on the holding of the summit, but one country was unnecessarily enacting hurdles and obstacles for its narrow gains.
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