Update: In a big diplomatic blow to Pakistan, after India, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka, Maldives on Friday became the sixth state to pull out of the 19th SAARC summit in Islamabad. As per reports by PTI, Pakistan postpones SAARC summit. A new set of dates will be announced soon for the 19th SAARC Summit.
Colombo: Sri Lanka on Friday expressed its unwillingness to attend the upcoming SAARC Summit in Islamabad, saying the prevailing environment in the region is not conducive for holding the summit.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Colombo, in a statement, said that the SAARC Charter requires that decisions at all levels are taken on the basis of unanimity, and this applies to the convening of meetings of Heads of State or Government of SAARC Member States as well.
“Peace and security are essential elements for the success of meaningful regional cooperation for the benefit of the people of South Asia. As a founding member of SAARC, committed to regional cooperation, Sri Lanka hopes that the steps required to ensuring our region’s peace and security will be taken to create an environment that is conducive for the pursuit of regional cooperation,” it said.
Sri Lanka condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, and stresses in this regard, the need to deal with the issue of terrorism in the region in a decisive manner, the statement said.
Sri Lanka’s unwillingness to attend comes three days after India, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Afghanistan wrote to Nepal the current Chair of SAARC, conveying they are pulling out of the SAARC Summit, citing rising terrorism in the region.
With this, five members of the eight-member South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation have pulled out of the summit.