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Saarc members must ensure their territory is not used for terror: Nepal

india Updated: Oct 02, 2016 23:37 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
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Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Nepal's then Prime Minister Sushil Koirala attend the opening session of 18th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit in Kathmandu November 26, 2014. (Reuters File Photo)

Saarc member states must ensure that their respective territories are not used for cross border terrorism, Nepal , which chairs the south Asian regional grouping, said on Sunday.

Days after India and four other countries pulled out of the 19th Saarc Summit, indirectly blaming Pakistan for creating an atmosphere which was not right for successfully holding the event, Nepal said it strongly believes that “an environment of peace and stability is essential for a meaningful regional cooperation”.

In its third statement since tensions between India and Pakistan boiled over, Nepal called on all member states to create a regional environment conducive for holding Saarc Summit, from which India pulled out in the wake of the September 18 terrorist attack on Uri military camp.

Read | India boycotts Saarc summit: Five finer points in the diplomatic tussle

“Nepal unequivocally condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and expresses its solidarity in the global fight against terrorism. Nepal has always condemned all acts of terrorism in our region,” said the foreign ministry statement.

“Nepal strongly believes that an environment of peace and stability is essential regional cooperation...To achieve peace and stability in the region, Saarc member states must, among others, ensure that their respective territories are not used by terrorists for cross-border terrorism.”

The new statement from Nepal came after intense diplomatic pressure.

Indian Ambassador to Nepal Ranjit Rae met with Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ on Friday and urged him to make a clear position on terrorism and what Nepal thinks about recent spike of tension in India-Pakistan border.

This could be the reason behind Nepal’s change of stance, political observers said.

“Most recently, Nepal had condemned the terrorist attack on Indian army base in Uri, Kashmir on September 18, that resulted in the loss of life of Indian soldiers,” the statement said.

“Nepal regrets that regional environment is not conducive to  host the 19th Saarc Summit scheduled for 9 and 10 November in Islamabad...Nepal will initiate necessary consultations on successfully holding the 19th summit with the participation of all member states,” it added.

Earlier, minister for foreign affairs Prakash Sharan Mahat, who returned on Saturday after leading the Nepali delegation to the 71st United National General Assembly (UNGA), told reporters that Nepal will take “necessary steps and hold discussions with member states to press for holding the summit.

The summit, scheduled to be held in November, was postponed on Friday after India, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Afghanistan pulled out, indirectly blaming Pakistan for creating an environment which was not right for the success of the meet. Later, Sri Lanka also pulled out of the summit.

Citing continuous cross-border terrorism by Pakistan, India said last week that “in the prevailing circumstances, the Government of India is unable to participate in the proposed Summit in Islamabad”.

South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc), the eight-member bloc, includes Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, the Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

(With inputs from agencies)

Read | Saarc process too slow, implementation of agreements very poor: Nepal PM ‘Prachanda’