Kathmandu, Sep 25 (PTI) Nepal's Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali has urged the SAARC member nations to explore all the viable options to convene the 19th summit of the eight-member regional body at an early date, underlining the need for deeper engagement to collectively fight COVID-19 and develop regional resilience to mitigate the impact of the pandemic.
Chairing an informal meeting of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) council of ministers held virtually on Thursday, Gyawali said there is a need to make SAARC an effective and result-oriented regional organisation capable of bringing visible changes in the lives of the peoples of South Asia.
'SAARC nations need to explore all viable options to convene the 19th SAARC Summit at an early date and to generate new momentum and dynamism in the regional grouping,' Gyawali said.
'The foreign minister underlined the need for deeper engagement of the Member States to collectively fight COVID-19 and develop regional resilience to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic,' he added.
The SAARC is a regional grouping comprising Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
The 18th SAARC summit was held in Kathmandu in 2014.
The 2016 SAARC Summit was to be held in Pakistan's capital Islamabad. But after the deadly terrorist attack on an Indian Army camp in Uri in Jammu and Kashmir on September 18 that year, India expressed its inability to participate in the summit due to 'prevailing circumstances'. The attack was carried out by terrorists belonging to Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad.
The summit was called off after Bangladesh, Bhutan and Afghanistan also declined to participate in the Islamabad SAARC meet.
Gyawali during the meeting stressed the need for making SAARC an effective and result-oriented regional organisation capable of bringing visible changes in the lives of the peoples of South Asia.
Nepal's coronavirus tally crossed the 70,000-mark on Friday with the detection of 1,313 new cases in the last 24 hours. It has so far reported 459 deaths due to the virus. PTI SBP RUP RUP RUP