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Nepal seeks India's support to forward peace process

June 20, 2009 00:45 IST
Nepal on Friday sought India's co-operation in moving the peace process forward, giving indications ahead of Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon's visit that it was looking forward to closer bilateral ties.

"The CPN-UML (Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist) led coalition government has accorded high priority to taking the peace process to its logical end and to draft the new constitution on time," Nepal Foreign Minister Sujata Koirala told PTI in an interview.

Menon will arrive in Kathmandu on Saturday on a two-day visit to impress upon the Nepalese leadership the need to take the peace process forward.

Koirala said Nepal needs India's co-operation in this regard. The country is in the midst of political uncertainty since May 4 when Maoist premier Prachanda resigned following differences with the President over the sacking of the army chief.

The CPN-UML has come to power heading a 22-party coalition but is yet to consolidate its alliance and is also facing difficulties in taking the sulking Maoists on board.

"We need India's cooperation and support to move the peace process forward. Nepal government wants to strengthen bilateral relations with neighbouring countries, especially India," the 55-year-old daughter of former premier and Nepali Congress patriarch Girija Prasad Koirala said.

Menon is also expected to discuss the maiden India tour

by Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal. The Foreign Secretary will meet President Ram Baran Yadav, Vice President Parmananda Jha, the Prime Minister, Foreign Minister as also Home Minister Bhim Bahadur Rawal.

He would also hold bilateral talks with his Nepalese counterpart Gyanchandra Acharya on Saturday.

Acharya said that the major agenda of the visit will be preparation for the upcoming visit of Madhav Nepal to India.

"I hope that the date for the Prime Minister's visit to India will be fixed during Menon's two-day visit," he told PTI.

"We are working out details of the visit of the Prime Minister," the Nepal Foreign Secretary said.

Madhav Nepal will tour India probably before his visit to the Non-Aligned Movement Summit in Egypt next month.

The entire gamut of bilateral issues including power, trade, as also the recent border dispute are expected to be discussed, he said. The meeting will also focus on preparation for the next South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation summit to be held in Bhutan on April 2010.

Shirish B Pradhan in Kathmandu
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