Sri Lanka Did Not Pull Out Of SAARC Summit, Foreign Minister Says

Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera today informed the Parliament that there was no question of Sri Lanka pulling out of the SAARC summit in Islamabad, as the summit could not be held without unanimity.

Since several countries had already informed that they will not attend the summit, the summit could not be held, he said.

"As the Members of this House are aware, the General Provisions of the Charter of SAARC prescribes that “decisions at all levels shall be taken on the basis of unanimity”. Therefore, the moment one country says that they are unable to attend a SAARC Summit, a Summit cannot be held. There was, therefore, no question of Sri Lanka pulling out of SAARC, or Sri Lanka saying that we will not attend the Summit as there was no Summit to attend" Samaraweera said.

"Sri Lanka issued a statement after several countries had informed the current Chair of SAARC, Nepal, formally, that they are unable to attend the Summit, and after the Chair, that is Nepal, issued a Statement as well" he added.

"In our statement, we expressed regret that the prevailing environment in the region, with several countries having stated their inability to attend the Summit, is not conducive for holding the Summit on the 9th and 10th of November, and we expressed hope that the steps required to ensuring our region’s peace and security will be taken to create an environment that is conducive for the pursuit of regional cooperation" Samaraweera said further.

He said that Sri Lanka will attend the 19th SAARC Summit whenever it is held.

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