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Decision to boycott SAARC summit own, has no relation to any other country: Bangladesh

Bangladesh on Wednesday said the decision to pull out of the Islamabad SAARC summit was purely its "own decision" and has no relation with the decision of any other country.


Decision to boycott SAARC summit own, has no relation to any other country: Bangladesh

Dhaka: Bangladesh on Wednesday said the decision to pull out of the Islamabad SAARC summit was purely its "own decision" and has no relation with the decision of any other country.

State Minister for Foreign Affairs M. Shahriar Alam said: "It (Bangladesh`s decision) has no relation to other countries` decisions. It`s our own decision."

Without taking any name, Shahriar Alam said a "particular country`s" repeated attempts to interfere in Bangladesh`s internal affairs has created an environment which is not conducive to the successful holding of the SAARC summit, Daily Star reported. 

"We`ve conveyed it to current SAARC chairman (Nepal and SAARC Secretariat) yesterday (Tuesday) that Bangladesh is not attending the Summit," he told reporters at the Foreign Ministry here.

Bangladesh, as the initiator of the SAARC process, believes in regional cooperation and connectivity, which was also conveyed to the SAARC chair and SAARC Secretariat.

"When time and scope will be available, Bangladesh will attend such events," he added. 

Relations between Bangladesh and Pakistan have deteriorated sharply in recent years after Pakistan`s repeated interference in Bangladesh`s internal affairs following the trial and execution of war criminals in Bangladesh.

The Minister said Bangladesh will never compromise, and has never compromised in the past either, in terms of issues related to the trial of war criminals and execution of the killers of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. 

Dhaka had strongly protested Islamabad`s meddling in its internal affairs and last year Bangladesh expelled a Pakistani diplomat for allegedly funding Islamist extremists.

On Tuesday, Bangladesh conveyed its decision to pull out of the summit.

"The growing interference in the internal affairs of Bangladesh by `one country` has created an environment which is not conducive to the successful hosting of the 19th SAARC (South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation) Summit in Islamabad," sources quoted Bangladesh as saying in a message to current SAARC chair Nepal.

"Bangladesh, as the initiator of the SAARC process, remains steadfast in its commitment to regional cooperation, connectivity and contacts but believes that these can only go forward in a more congenial atmosphere," the message said.

"In view of the above, Bangladesh is unable to participate in the proposed Summit in Islamabad."

On Tuesday, India, Bhutan and Afghanistan also conveyed their decision not to attend the November 9-10 summit in Islamabad.

The summit stands automatically postponed or cancelled if one member country skips the event.

However, Saarc Chair Nepal was yet to issue any statement with regard to either having received intimations about some members` decision not to attend the proposed Summit in Islamabad or a postponement of the summit meeting.

Talking to UNB, a senior official on Tuesday night said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has decided to skip the summit following Pakistan`s "repeated and shameless" interference in Bangladesh`s internal affairs over the trial of war criminals.

The Indian Ministry of External Affairs on Tuesday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi will not travel to Islamabad to participate in the Saarc summit in November as the atmosphere is "not conducive to a successful 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.

"In the prevailing circumstances, the government of India is unable to participate in the proposed Summit in Islamabad," it said.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is likely to have a bilateral meeting with her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi in Goa on October 16, where they are likely to discuss the future steps on regional cooperation.

Bangladesh Finance Minister A.M.A. Muhith and Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan had skipped the two SAARC ministerial-level meetings in Islamabad last month citing domestic compulsion.

On September 19, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh "firmly stands" beside India at this difficult hour and expressed deep shock at the terrorist attack on an army base at Uri, in Jammu and Kashmir.

From Zee News

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