Maldives Condemns 'International Terrorism', Urges Early SAARC Summit

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Maldives Condemns 'International Terrorism', Urges Early SAARC Summit

Maldives urged SAARC countries to declare early date for next summit. President Abdulla Yameen (above).

Male:  Maldives on Friday while condemning "international terrorism" appealed to member nations of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation to create a "conducive environment" for holding the eight-nation bloc's meetings. Pakistan was forced to postpone the SAARC summit after majority member states joined India in withdrawing their participation, citing "threats to regional peace".

"The government of Maldives has urged member states of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation to create an environment conducive for holding the 19th SAARC Summit," the Maldives Foreign Ministry said.

It added that the decision was taken after "some SAARC member states expressed their inability to attend the summit due to terrorism, and threats to regional and international peace."

On Tuesday, India had pulled out of the SAARC summit - scheduled for November in Islamabad - after Pakistan based terrorists attacked an army camp in Jammu and Kashmir's Uri and killed 19 soldiers. India said it was not possible to attend the bloc's meetings because of continued state sponsorship of terrorism in the region.

Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Bhutan followed India and withdrew their participation citing the same reason.

In its appeal, Maldives reminded SAARC members that the organisation provided a rare platform for leaders to discuss critical issues facing the region and expressed hope that another summit would be convened soon.

SAARC was founded in 1985 to give a platform to leaders of its eight member nations - Afghanistan, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and the Maldives - to improve regional cooperation. The last SAARC summit was held in Kathmandu in 2014.

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