Islamabad to host next SAARC summit: Qureshi

NEW YORK, Sep 27 (APP):Minister for Foreign Affairs Shah Mahmood Qureshi Thursday said the member countries of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) had unanimously agreed to hold the next summit level meeting in Pakistan.

The decision was taken in a ministerial level meeting of the SAARC countries held here on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly session, which was also attended by Foreign Minister Qureshi.

Talking to the newsmen, the foreign minister said Prime Minister Imran Khan would chair the next SAARC summit to be held on mutually convenient dates as proposed by Pakistan.

Qureshi said he proposed the SAARC member countries that the summit level meeting was essential if they really wanted to exploit the region’s true potential in tourism, economy and other sectors, and discuss their disputes.

He said all the member states, except India, agreed to hold the next summit level meeting in Pakistan. As India was left isolated it had no option but to endorse the proposal later, he added.

The foreign minister said the last SAARC summit was scheduled to be held in Islamabad in 2016, which could not be held due to Indian objections. However, India this time remained silent in that regard, he added.

He said the SAARC was a forum where the regional countries could discuss disputes and find out their solutions.

Qureshi said he deliberately arrived at the meeting late to avoid listening to to the India foreign minister in protest against the human rights violations in the Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir.