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(2018-09-28) The Foreign Minister today participated in the informal meeting of the Council of Ministers of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) held in New York on the sidelines of the General Assembly session. The meeting was hosted and chaired by the Foreign Minister of Nepal and was attended by the Foreign Ministers of the SAARC member states.

The Foreign Minister reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to SAARC’s principles and objectives and highlighted the Organization’s potential for promoting progress and prosperity in South Asia. He stressed that Pakistan considered SAARC an important platform for organizing a collective response to regional challenges, particularly the region’s development needs.

The Foreign Minister emphasized that one country was holding the 1.7 billion people of South Asia hostage, while making vague statements and unsubstantiated, whimsical allegations. The SAARC summit has already been delayed by two years, with no end in sight. Pakistan continued to insist that there was no alternate to communication, engagement and dialogue, and the attempt to scuttle the SAARC process, wasactually the major impediment in ensuring the prosperity, eliminating poverty and instituting development for the peoples of the region. He also pointed out that there was a general positivity within the rest of the membership to move forward on the holding of the summit, but one country was unnecessarily enacting hurdles and obstacles for its narrow gains.

Pakistan remains ready to hold the SAARC summit, at any date agreed to by the SAARC member states.

New York

27 September 2018

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