Nepal, Pakistan agree to revitalise Saarc process


Kathmandu—Nepali Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli held bilateral talks with his visiting Pakistani counterpart Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and both the leaders decided to revitalise the stalled Saarc process.

During the meeting on Monday evening, both the leaders discussed the matters related to enhancing bilateral cooperation in the fields of investment, trade, tourism, agriculture and human resource development, said a statement issued by Nepal’s Foreign Ministry.

Oli and Abbasi agreed to hold regular meetings of bilateral mechanisms and the talks also emphasised on the stalled South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) process. The Pakistani leader sought to host the summit of the regional grouping and asked Nepal to create a “favourable environment” for the same.

Nepal is the current chair of the regional grouping.

On matters relating to the Saarc, Oli’s chief political advisor Bishnu Rimal said “both leaders held a common view on taking the Saarc forum ahead as it was a common platform for all member countries and still significant”. 

“They also emphasised on resolving any issue of difference in Saarc through dialogue and discussion,” Rimal was quoted as saying by the Himalayan Times.

In the meeting, Oli responded to Abbasi’s invitation to visit Pakistan by saying “he would make the visit in an opportune time”. The Pakistani Prime Minister also congratulated his Nepali counterpart over his election as the Prime Minister and wished him a successful tenure. 

Oli later hosted a banquet in honour of the visiting Pakistani Prime Minister following the bilateral meeting. Abbasi arrived in Kathmandu on Monday for two-day official visit. 

Abbasi is scheduled to meet CPN (Maoist Centre) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda” on Tuesday and then will pay a courtesy call on President Bidya Devi Bhandari. He will leave for Pakistan later in the day.

The Pakistani leader was accompanied by Secretary to the Prime Minister Fawad Hassan Fawad, Military Secretary to the Prime Minister Brigadier Waseem Iftikhar Cheema and other senior officials of their government.

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