Saarc Summit: Bangladesh, Bhutan and Afghanistan also pull out of meet in Pakistan - Firstpost
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Saarc Summit: Bangladesh, Bhutan and Afghanistan also pull out of meet in Pakistan


In another setback for Pakistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Afghanistan on Wednesday pulled out of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) Summit in Islamabad.

Bangladesh said it was unable to participate in the summit because of "growing interference in internal affairs of Bangladesh by one country".

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

News reports said that Bangladesh foreign ministry wrote to the current Saarc chair Nepal about the growing interference from Pakistan.

"Growing interference in internal affairs of Bangladesh by one country has created environment not conducive to the successful hosting of the 19th Saarc Summit in Islamabad in November 2016," ANI quoted sources from Bangladesh as saying.

"Bangladesh remains steadfast in its commitment to regional co-operation but believes this can only go forward in a more congenial atmosphere. In view of the above, Bangladesh is unable to participate in the proposed Summit in Islamabad," the agency further quoted sources as saying.

Bhutan made a similar statement and said that it "expresses concern over recent escalation of terrorism in the region, which seriously compromises the environment for successful holding of the 19th Saarc Summit in Islamabad in November 2016," according to ANI.

"Bhutan shares concerns of some of the Saarc countries on deterioration of regional peace and security due to terrorism...Bhutan joins other Saarc countries in conveying inability to participate in the Saarc Summit under the current circumstances," ANI further quoted sources as saying.

NDTV reported sources told the news channel that Afghanistan cited similar reasons for pulling out of the summit.

This setback for Pakistan comes merely a day after India pulled out of the Saarc Summit. Firstpost was the first to report that Modi would not be travelling to Pakistan in an exclusive piece by Sunil Raman on 19 September.

Announcing the decision on Tuesday night, India said that "one country" has created an environment that is not conducive to the successful holding of the Summit.

"India has conveyed to current Saarc chair Nepal that increasing cross-border terrorist attacks in the region and growing interference in the internal affairs of member States by one country have created an environment that is not conducive to the successful holding of the 19th Saarc Summit in Islamabad in November 2016," the External Affairs Ministry had said in a statement.

"In the prevailing circumstances, the Government of India is unable to participate in the proposed Summit in Islamabad," it had said, adding, "We also understand that some other Saarc member states have also conveyed their reservation about attending the Islamabad Summit in November 2016."

In its communication to Nepal, India had said it remains steadfast in its commitment to regional cooperation, connectivity and contacts but believes that these can only go forward in an atmosphere free of terror.

PTI also reported that according to sources, Afghanistan and Bhutan had also expressed their unwillingness to attend the summit.

Pakistan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs had termed India's announcement "unfortunate" and had stated that Pakistan remains committed to peace and regional cooperation and will continue to work to that end in the larger interest of people of the South Asian region.

Modi has also called a meeting on Thursday to review the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status accorded to Pakistan.

With inputs from PTI

First Published On : Sep 28, 2016 09:05 IST

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