Nepal is set to host the 18th Saarc Summit on November 22-27 in Kathmandu . Having received approvals from the other seven Saarc member states, the government will announce the date next week after a Cabinet decision.
The confirmation will pave the way for the government to make logistical preparations such as hotel booking for visiting dignitaries.
“I’ll table a proposal for the announcement at the Cabinet,” said Minister for Foreign Affairs Mahendra Bahadur Pandey, adding that the agenda will be included informally on Friday.
This is the third time Nepal hosts the summit—the first was held in 1997 and the second in 2002.
According to the events calendar, Programming Committee meeting at the joint-secretary level will be held on November 22, and the foreign secretary-level Standing Committee will meet on November 23 and 24. ]
Meeting of the Saarc Council of Ministers is scheduled for November 25 and 26 while November 27 is the Summit day.
The Summit will be inaugurated on November 26, with heads of state and government addressing the session. On 27th, the Summit Declarations will be announced followed by a retreat for the regional leaders.
Over 300 VVIPs and VIPs from member states—Nepal, India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Afghanistan—and nine observer countries will attend the summit along with a huge number of international journalists.
“We need the date for, among other things, booking suites and hotel rooms three months in advance,” said a senior Foreign Ministry official. The venue for the summit is City Hall, Pradarshani Marga. Once the date is announced, Foreign Minister Pandey will travel to member countries to extend invitations to the heads of state and government. Several panels including one led by Prime Minister Sushil Koirala are working on the summit and its theme.
– Programming Committee: Nov 22
– Standing Committee: Nov 23-24
– Saarc Council of Ministers: Nov 25-26
– Saarc Summit: Nov 27