NEPALI PM CALLS FOR REVITALIZING SAARC TO ADVANCE PROSPERITY IN SOUTH ASIA

Nepali Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali on Wednesday stressed on the need for revitalizing the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) to advance prosperity in the region.

Addressing a function in the capital, the foreign minister expressed the hope that the SAARC can play a pivotal role in advancing prosperity in the South Asia region.

"A peaceful, stable and prosperous South Asia is in our interest. As a common platform, SAARC can play a pivotal role in advancing prosperity in the region. What we need to do is to revitalize SAARC. We must make it an organization that delivers tangible outcome. Without deeper integration we cannot enjoy the fruits of regional cooperation," said the foreign minister.

The SAARC member states should focus on core areas of trade, investment, tourism, and connectivity to achieve tangible results, the Nepali foreign minister said.

"Nepal always remains proactive in realizing the objectives enshrined in the SAARC Charter and as the current chair has been working closely with member states in the spirit of solidarity, cooperation and partnership," Gyawali said amidst the presence of diplomats from South Asian countries.

SAARC is a regional body established in 1985 in South Asia, comprising Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Nepal is currently the chair of the SAARC.

Nepali foreign minister's remark has come at a time when the SAARC member states are failing to forge consensus on holding of the 19th SAARC summit since its cancellation in 2016 amid border tensions between India and Pakistan.

Since then, Nepal, in the capacity of the chair of the SAARC, has been urging India and Pakistan to make positive atmosphere for holding the SAARC Summit.

The 19th SAARC summit, scheduled to be held in Islamabad on Nov. 9-10 in 2016, was cancelled after India, Afghanistan, Bhutan and Bangladesh decided to boycott the summit, blaming Pakistan for not cooperating on combating cross-border terrorism in South Asia.

Pakistan denied the charges, saying it was sincerely working to fight against cross-border terrorism.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK