Impasse over appointment of Saarc head

Impasse over appointment of Saarc head

The persisting impasse over the 19th summit of the Saarc may render the secretariat of the bloc in Kathmandu headless after February 28 next.

A meeting of the senior diplomats of the Saarc's eight member nations in Kathmandu this week failed to make any headway to end the impasse over the 19th summit of the bloc. The impasse may now block appointment of the new Secretary-General of the regional organisation once the term of incumbent Arjun Bahadur Thapa ends on February 28 next.

Thapa took over as Saarc Secretary General on March 1, 2014, after Kathmandu nominated the Nepalese career diplomat for a three-year term at the helm of the bloc's secretariat. He is to be succeeded by a nominee of Pakistan.

Though Pakistan nominated its diplomat Amjad Hussain B. Sial to be the next Secretary-General of the Saarc, India argued that his appointment should be confirmed by the Council of Ministers – a body comprising the foreign ministers of all the eight member nations – as stipulated by the Article V of the Memorandum of Agreement on establishment of the Saarc Secretariat, sources told the DH.

A meeting of the Council of Ministers was scheduled to take place just before the 19th Saarc summit, which was to be held in Islamabad in November.

It, however, could not take place as the bloc’s proposed 19th summit itself was postponed after India pulled out of it to protest continued export of terrorism from Pakistan. New Delhi decided against Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Islamabad for the summit after terrorists from territories under control of Pakistan crossed the Line of Control and attacked a camp of Indian Army at Uri in northern Kashmir on September 18, killing 19 soldiers and injuring several others.

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