Sri Lanka, Too, Pulls Out Of SAARC Summit Citing 'Prevailing Environment'

Sri Lanka is now the fifth country to cancel participation at the convention

30/09/2016 3:31 PM IST | Updated 30/09/2016 4:39 PM IST
Adnan Abidi / Reuters

Sri Lanka has also pulled out of the upcoming The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Summit scheduled to be held in Pakistan in November, becoming the latest country to cancel its participation amid rising tensions between India and Pakistan.

In an official statement, Sri Lankan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said, "Sri Lanka regrets that prevailing environment in region is not conducive for holding 19th SAARC Summit in Islamabad on 9th & 10th November. General Provisions of SAARC Charter require decisions at all levels shall be taken on the basis of unanimity and this applies to the convening of meetings of Heads of State or Government of SAARC Member States as well."

The statement added peace and security are essential elements for the success of meaningful regional cooperation for the benefit of the people of South Asia, and as a founding member of SAARC, a regional geopolitical and economic organisation, it hopes steps required to ensuring the region's peace and security will be taken.

Sri Lanka is now the fifth country to pull out of the convention in the eight-member group, in what is being seen as a move to increasingly isolate Pakistan in the South Asian region following militant attacks in Uri earlier this month that India says have originated from Pakistan.

According to media reports the Summit is likely to be cancelled given that major nations have already pulled out. However, on Wednesday Pakistan indicated its intention to still go ahead with the summit.

On Tuesday, India announced in an official statement that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will not attend the Summit citing "cross-border" terrorist attacks and increasing interference from the host country in some of the member states. Following India's decision, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Afghanistan also announced they won't be participating citing similar concerns.

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