The Maldives on Friday condemned terrorism and urged for creation of an environment conducive for holding the now-cancelled 19th SAARC Summit. In a statement, the Maldives Foreign Office said the appeal followed the decisions by some of the SAARC member states who have expressed their inability to attend the Summit scheduled for November due to terrorism, and threats to regional and international peace.
The Maldives condemned international terrorism, especially those originating from outside. It said the SAARC Summit can be convened only with the participation of Heads of State or Governments of all of its Member States.
“The Maldives encouraged States to provide a valuable opportunity for the leaders to discuss critical issues facing the region and expressed hope that the required measures will be taken by relevant member states to convene the Summit at an early date.”
The 19th SAARC Summit was scheduled to be held from November 9 to 10, 2016 in Islamabad, Pakistan. SAARC was founded in 1985 and its members are Afghanistan, India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and the Maldives. The last SAARC Summit was held in Kathmandu in 2014. In 2011, the Maldives hosted the 17th SAARC Summit, it said.
The Maldives move comes after Sri Lanka on Friday expressed its unwillingness to attend the SAARC summit in Islamabad. This came after four members — India, Afghanistan, Bhutan and Bangladesh — pulled out citing concern over rising terrorism in the region.
Later in the evening, Pakistan announced cancellation of the summit. Nepal, the current chair, said on Friday that the summit of the South Asian regional grouping cannot take place if even one member country notifies its inability to participate in the event.