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Pakistan says working on SAARC summit dates even though grouping works on unanimity

ANI | Updated: Oct 10, 2019 20:50 IST

Islamabad [Pakistan], Oct 10 (ANI): Pakistan on Thursday said that it was working on the dates of SAARC summit even though the grouping takes decisions at all levels on the basis of unanimity.
"Pakistan is working on the dates of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit to be held in Islamabad," The Express Tribune reported Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson Muhammad Faisal as saying.
Faisal, who was responding to a question, said the dates will be shared "once they are finalised."
The SAARC website states that decisions at all levels "are to be taken on the basis of unanimity and bilateral and contentious issues are excluded from the deliberations of the Association".
Last month, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi had boycotted statement of External Affairs Minister S.Jaishankar at a meeting of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Foreign Ministers in New York.
He had later said that the next SAARC meet would take place in Islamabad, and added that no member state had "objected" to the decision.
"I invited all member states to Islamabad so that SAARC-related issues are resolved. No one objected to it. It has been decided that the next summit-level meeting of SAARC will be held in Islamabad and Pakistan will propose the dates soon," Qureshi had said.
Asked if India will attend the SAARC summit in Pakistan, Qureshi had said, "We will extend an invitation to all the SAARC countries. Those who think who are not a part of this forum, it's their call."
The 18th SAARC summit was held in Kathmandu in 2014 and Pakistan was to host the next summit in 2016. However, the summit was cancelled after India decided against participating in it following the terror attack at a military camp at Uri in Jammu and Kashmir. Bangladesh, Bhutan and Afghanistan also declined to participate and it was called off.
In his speech at the SAARC Foreign Ministers meeting on the sidelines of UN General Assembly, Jaishankar had said elimination of terrorism in all its forms was a precondition not only for fruitful cooperation, but also for the very survival of our region itself. (ANI)

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