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Pak says SAARC’s Secretariat’s absence reason for not attending trade officials conference

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Islamabad [Pakistan], April 09 (ANI): Pakistan on Wednesday said that it did not participate in India-led South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) trade officials discussion as SAARC Secretariat was not part of today’s video conference on coronavirus.
Trade officials of the SAARC countries except for Pakistan held a video conference, deliberating on creating a larger framework of trade facilitation to offset the adverse impact of the coronavirus pandemic in the region.
During the meeting, it was stressed that new ways and means be jointly identified to sustain and expand the intra-regional trade until the normal trade channels are fully restored.
“Activities such as today’s Trade Officials’ Video-Conference could only be effective if spearheaded by the SAARC Secretariat. Since the SAARC Secretariat was not part of today’s Video-Conference, Pakistan chose not to participate. In order for the SAARC process to move forward, the SAARC Secretariat must be enabled to play its due role in any event or activity being organized under SAARC auspices,” said Pakistan Foreign Ministry in a statement.
On March 15, Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the video conference with participants from the SAARC nations.
PM Modi had proposed the creation of an emergency fund for the SAARC nations to combat the coronavirus pandemic and pitched India’s initial offer of USD 10 million for this fund. (ANI)