SAARC Charter needs to be reviewed: PM

Kathmandu, September 29

Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal today stressed on reviewing SAARC Charter and restructuring SAARC mechanisms for effective implementation of regional projects, policies and programmes.

Addressing a regional conference on SAARC’s effectiveness in Kathmandu today, PM Dahal said the SAARC Charter should to be ‘reviewed’ and its mechanisms ‘restructured’.

PM Dahal, who is the incumbent chair of the regional bloc, made this remark after four SAARC member-states informed Nepal of their inability to attend the upcoming summit set for November in Pakistan.

India on Tuesday had pulled out its participation from the Islamabad Summit. Other three members — Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Bhutan — followed suit on Wednesday amid growing confrontation between India and Pakistan.

Representatives of South Asian think tanks, diplomats, experts and parliamentarians are participating in the two-day conference, which will conclude tomorrow. The conference is being organised by International Relations and Labour Committee of the Parliament of Nepal.

During his address, PM Dahal refrained from making any comment on the decision of four SAARC members not to attend the summit.

He, however, said SAARC had failed to realise its lofty objectives under its current framework.

“SAARC has yet to prove its effectiveness in the socio-economic development of the region as envisaged by its charter,” he said, hinting that SAARC decisions should be taken on the basis of majority vote instead of seeking consensus of all member states.

Nepal has been chairing the eight member bloc since the 18th SAARC Summit that was held in Kathmandu in November 2014.

The 19th SAARC Summit was supposed to be held in Islamabad from November 9 to 10, but the summit is unlikely to take place with four member states cancelling their participation.

Taking the development ‘seriously’, Nepal, as the current SAARC chair, has urged all concerned to create environment for the summit by ensuring participation of all member states in line with the spirit of the SAARC Charter.

Former Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal said that the region had fallen behind in terms of socio-economic development due to failure to utilise abundant resources in the region.

MoFA hopes steps would be taken to hold summit

Ministry of Foreign Affairs today issued a press release, saying indefinite postponement of the SAARC Summit would not be in anybody’s interest and it expected that the host nation would take necessary initiatives to hold the regional meet.

Pakistan is the host nation for this year’s regional event. India, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Afghanistan have said they would not attend the event scheduled for November this year.

The foreign ministry said Nepal was ready to play its role as the SAARC chair. This was stated in a MoFA press release issued by Foreign Minister Prakash Sharan Mahat’s secretariat.

The ministry said it issued a press release as the chair of SAARC with aim of creating environment conducive to holding he event as soon as possible. The ministry said its attention was drawn to some media reports that wrongly interpreted its release issued yesterday.

“As per SAARC tradition, its summit cannot take place even if one member notifies of its inability to attend the event,” the MoFA said in its release.