Sri Lanka also boycotts SAARC summit

Colombo [Sri Lanka], Sept.30 : Asserting that it condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, Sri Lanka on Friday pulled out of the 19th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Summit, scheduled to take place in November.

Sri Lanka is the fifth country after India, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Afghanistan to pull out of the summit.

In an official communication, the Sri Lankan foreign ministry told SAARC chair Nepal, "Sri Lanka regrets that the prevailing environment in the region is not conducive for holding the 19th SAARC Summit in Islamabad on 9th and 10th November 2016." The statement added that the general provisions of the SAARC Charter require that decisions at all levels shall be taken on the basis of unanimity, and this applies to the convening of meetings of Heads of State or Government of SAARC Member States as well.

Maintaining that peace and security are essential elements for the success of meaningful regional cooperation for the benefit of the people of South Asia, the statement said that " As a founding member of SAARC, committed to regional cooperation, Sri Lanka hopes that the steps required to ensuring our region's peace and security will be taken to create an environment that is conducive for the pursuit of regional cooperation." The statement said that Sri Lanka condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, and stresses in this regard, the need to deal with the issue of terrorism in the region in a decisive manner.

The SAARC summit cannot take place even if one of the eight members withdraws. India on Tuesday announced that it would not attend the summit conveying the current SAARC Chair Nepal that in the prevailing circumstances, the Government of India is unable to participate in the proposed Summit.

Source: ANI