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Pakistan hopes to host postponed SAARC summit soon

IANS | Islamabad |

Pakistan has expressed the hope that the Saarc summit, scheduled to be held here in November last year and postponed due to the boycott by India, will be organised soon.

Adviser to Pakistani Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz on Friday talked to Arjun Bahadur Thapa, the outgoing Secretary General of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc), that India "impeded the process and violated the spirit of the Saarc Charter".

"Pakistan remains committed to hosting the 19th Saarc Summit here at the earliest so that the objectives of regional cooperation under the Saarc umbrella can be pursued more vigorously," Xinhua news agency quoted Aziz as saying.

According to Nepal, the current Saarc Chair, the conference was cancelled after Bangladesh, Bhutan, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka followed India's decision to boycott the summit.

Thapa emphasised the need to overcome the difficulties that the organisation faced and expressed the hope that the summit would be held as soon as possible.

The boycott from the Indian side came as relations between the neighbouring nations dipped after the September 18 attack at an Indian Army base in Uri town of Kashmir that left 19 soldiers dead. India blamed Pakistani militants for the attack.

Aziz reaffirmed Pakistan's commitment to regional cooperation under the framework of Saarc for promoting welfare of the people of South Asia, improving their quality of life, economic progress, social uplift and cultural cooperation.

Aziz believed the Saarc Secretariat could play an important role as catalyst to bring all the member states together and ensure timely and effective implementation of programmes and activities that would benefit the region.