18th Saarc Summit uncertain
Nepal's prospect of hosting the next summit of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) this year is bleak because of political turmoil in the country, according to diplomatic sources.
Nepal is yet to propose a date for the 18th Saarc summit and is to be the chair of Saarc after the Maldives that hosted the 17th summit in November last year.
The Maldives, now the chair of Saarc, is also in political crisis following the alleged ouster of Mohamed Nasheed as president of the country in February this year.
Although Nepalese Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai has called fresh elections in November this year, they are unlikely to be held at that time, the sources said.
The reason for such uncertainty is that political parties in Nepal are divided over the timing of the elections. Further, there is a standoff over the demand that Bhattarai step down, making way for a caretaker government.
If the elections in Nepal are not held by November, it may be difficult for Nepal to host the next summit this year.
Saarc consists of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and the Maldives.