The 16th SAARC summit is likely to be deferred to at least the first quarter of 2010 as the Maldives has expressed its inability to host the gathering this year after October, when its tourist season would be in full swing.
Economic recession is another reason that is deterring the Maldives, New Age newspaper said quoting diplomatic sources here.
At the recent South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) council of ministers' meeting, the Maldives was requested to host the summit before October. But Maldivian Foreign Minister Ahmed Shaheed expressed his country's inability to do so as it was seriously affected by the global economic crisis.
The minister also said the Maldives, dependent on the tourism industry, would not be able to hold the summit this year after October, as that would be the peak tourist season.
The meeting finally requested the Maldives to communicate with the secretariat in Kathmandu about the new schedule for the 16th summit.