New York: Accusing India of creating an obstacle in regional cooperation, Pakistan Foreign Minister Makhdoom Mehmood Shah Qureshi has said that “the attitude of one country is blocking the progress of SAARC”.
His remarks came after attending the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Informal Council of Foreign Ministers meeting, which was held on Thursday on the sideline of the 73rd United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).
External Affairs Minister (EAM) Sushma Swaraj also attended the meeting but left early with her Afghanistani counterpart Salahuddin Rabbani.
“If we want to gain something from this forum, we’ve to move forward. The way to move forward is to decide the next meeting…. I’ve no hesitation to say that the attitude of one country is blocking the progress of SAARC, connectivity and prosperity of this region and defying the spirit of SAARC. One country is not letting SAARC function,” Qureshi told reporters after the meeting.
He further said that he did not get a chance to talk to Swaraj as he she left midway. “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 said.
Qureshi also said that a meeting is functional only when people sit together and talk, adding, “If there is no talk then there is no hope for functionality”.
His statements came after India called off the proposed meeting between Foreign Ministers of India and Pakistan on the sidelines of UNGA.