Nepal ready to 'mediate' between India, Pakistan at SAARC summit
Kathmandu: Nepal is ready to “mediate” between India and Pakistan to break the deadlock in their ties by bringing the leaders of the two countries together during the SAARC Summit, Foreign Minister Mahendra Pandey today said. “Nepal could mediate between India and Pakistan on the sidelines of the Summit,” Pandey said during a talk show on a news channel.
“The Prime Ministers of both the countries were in favour of improving the deteriorating relations and Nepal will take the initiative,” said the foreign minister of the host country.
Meanwhile, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said “wait till tomorrow”, when asked about the possible meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif.
The statement by Swaraj came after Pakistani media reported that the two premiers may interact on the sidelines of the two-day summit.
“The two prime ministers will come face-to-face at the retreat ceremony in Kathmandu,” a Pakistani official was quoted as saying by Express Tribune. As part of a tradition, the heads of state and government attending the SAARC Summit are taken for a retreat after the inauguration of the conference in order to create a conducive environment for bilateral meetings. All SAARC leaders including from India and Pakistan are being invited for the retreat.
Nepal is hosting the SAARC Summit after an interval of 12 years.
The country previously hosted the summit in 2002, when the then Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and former Pakistani military ruler Pervez Musharraf met in Kathmandu.