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SAARC meet: 'Pak FM's statement baseless, away from reality'


ANI New York [U.S.A.]
Pakistan Foreign Minister, Makhdoom Mehmood Shah Qureshi's allegations regarding India not being serious about South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) are "baseless and away from reality", sources said on Friday.
On Thursday, after attending the SAARC Informal Council of Foreign Ministers meeting, held on the sideline of the 73rd United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), Qureshi accused India of creating an obstacle in regional cooperation. He also alleged that External Affairs Minister (EAM) Sushma Swaraj left the meeting midway, "blocking the progress of SAARC".
"There were no talks between us. She (EAM) left midway, maybe she wasn't feeling well. I listened to her statement. She talked about regional cooperation. How is regional cooperation possible, when everybody is ready to sit and talk and you're blocking that?" he told reporter after the meeting.
The sources, however, brushed off all the allegations, saying, "EAM Sushma Swaraj in her speech had extensively dealt with various SAARC related projects. She also expressed India's unwavering commitment for making SAARC a success as regional grouping."
Terming the remarks made by the Pakistani Foreign Minister about Swaraj leaving the SAARC meeting "surprising and unfortunate", the sources clarified, "It should be noted that she (EAM) was neither the first one nor the only one who left the meeting. Foreign Ministers of Afghanistan and Bangladesh left the meeting before India's External Affairs Minister. Also, leaving a meeting after delivering own speech is a standard practice in the multilateral engagements. EAM left the meeting after delivering her speech as she had another meeting lined up with Indian Community groups and other bilateral engagements.

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First Published: Sep 28 2018 | 7:09 AM IST

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