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Nepal SAARC Meeting on Feb 1 to Decide on Next Summit Schedule

The nations of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) will meet in Kathmandu on February 1-2 to attend the Programming Committee meeting over the next SAARC summit schedule.

This is the first meeting of the SAARC members after the controversial postponement of the 19th SAARC summit scheduled in Islamabad last year in November due to India’s objections over the escalation of border tensions.

The meeting in Nepal will witness all the SAARC member states to discuss the budget of the SAARC Secretariat and five regional centers of SAARC, besides the rescheduling of the next SAARC summit. The meeting will be attended by joint secretaries of the SAARC countries.

The decisions at the programming committee will be sent to the Standing Committee. SAARC, set up in 1985, consists of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

Last November, the SAARC Summit was postponed after four nations — Afghanistan, Bhutan, Bangladesh and India — requested the summit in Islamabad to be postponed over the border tensions between India and Pakistan. The four countries had blamed Pakistan for not creating a conducive environment and not cooperating on combating cross-border terrorism in the region for holding the SAARC Summit. Pakistan rejected the charges.

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