Informal SAARC meeting in NY cancelled as Pakistan invites Taliban
By Sulochana Ramiah Mohan
The informal meeting of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Council of Ministers, proposed to be held in person on 25 September 2021, on the sidelines of the ongoing 76th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA 2021) in New York, has been cancelled as some member countries refused to welcome the Taliban of Afghanistan to the meeting.
The SAARC Secretariat in Kathmandu, Nepal, in its statement said, due to lack of concurrence from all member States the SAARC, as of today, the meeting will not take place.
On 21 September, the SAARC Secretariat announced they have invited the Ministries of Foreign and External Affairs of the member States of SAARC to meet on 25 September as proposed and the SAARC Secretariat avails itself of this opportunity to renew to the Ministers of Foreign Affairs the assurances of its highest consideration.
The official letter from the SAARC headquarters noted that the esteemed secretariat has circulated this communication among the SAARC member States and that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Government of Nepal regrets any inconvenience caused due to this cancellation.
According to international media, Pakistan, a SAARC member country had insisted that the Taliban Government should be allowed to attend SAARC Foreign Ministers meet in New York, but many countries had refused to allow this.
Also, Pakistan had insisted that the previous Afghan Government that was overthrown by the Taliban should not be allowed to the meeting at any cost. Since most of the SAARC nations refused, the meeting had been cancelled.