Bhutan wants to host SAARC summit after Maldives backs out

May 21st, 2009 - 11:53 am ICT by IANS  

Dhaka, May 21 (IANS) Bhutan wants to host the 16th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit next April 28-29 in Thimphu as the Maldives, which was to host it, has expressed its inability to arrange the gathering due to the current economic recession.
Unnamed diplomatic sources told New Age newspaper Wednesday that the Himalayan nation had officially proposed to host the gathering of the region’s top leaders in a letter to the SAARC secretariat in Kathmandu.

According to Bhutan’s proposal, the meeting of the SAARC’s council of ministers and foreign ministers’ forum should be held April 26-27, preceded by the meetings of the standing committee and foreign secretaries April 24-25 and senior officials’ meeting April 22-23.

“As Bhutan on March 13, 2009 proposed to host the 16th gathering of SAARC in spring (March-April) in 2010, and the member states so far have not expressed any reservations, the summit will be held according to the proposed schedule,” said a Bangladesh foreign office source.

Member states host the SAARC summit in the alphabetic order.

After the Maldives expressed its inability to host the meeting, the SAARC secretariat consulted other member-countries to arrive at a solution.

The 16th summit was scheduled to be held in the Maldives in the second half of 2009 as decided at the 15th SAARC Summit in Sri Lanka in 2008.

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