EPG team told to keep national interest in core

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Jan 10, 2018-

Prime Minister Sher Bahadur has told the Nepali team of the Eminent Persons Group on Nepal, India Relations to keep the national interest in core when they meet with the Indian side this week for discussions on the bilateral matters.

The four-member Nepali team met PM Deuba at Baluwatar on Tuesday morning and apprised him about the progress made in the previous meetings. The team, led by its coordinator and former foreign minister Bhekh Bahadur Thapa, is leaving for New Delhi on Wednesday for the sixth meeting taking place on Thursday and Friday.

“We have to focus on what people want and what is our national interest,” the PM told the Nepali delegation, which had already held meetings with Chairman of CPN-UML KP Oli and CPN (Maoist Centre) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal.

Dinesh Bhattarai, the foreign relations adviser to PM Deuba, said the EPG delegation briefed the PM about the progress they made is last meeting on 1950 Peace and Friendship Treaty, trade, culture, socio-cultural issues, commerce, water resources, border, among other issues.

EPG members said that the commencement of the sixth meeting will see drafting of a report that will be presented to both the governments for execution.

They told the PM that they have started receiving constructive feedback and response from the Indian side to concerns raised by the Nepali sides in the previous meetings.

“The government and my party will fully cooperate and support your effort that is centered around the interest of the nation and people,” Bhattarai quoted the PM as telling the EPG delegation. “Some good initiations have been taken by the political leadership, the EPG should advance them to a conclusion.”

On Monday, the EPG members had met with Dahal and briefed him about the latest status of the EPG which will complete its two-year term in July.

During the meeting, Dahal told the Nepali EPG team to play whatever role they can to replace the past treaties and agreements between the two countries with new ones in the changed context, according to a statement released by his secretariat.

“Management of the open border is our major concern. We are aware about the socio-cultural relations between Nepal and India at the people-to-people level, but sooner or later we have to manage the border,” the Maoist chief told the EPG members.

Dahal also expressed hope that Nepal-India ties will take a new height once a new government is formed in Nepal, the statement said.

The eight-member EPG is mandated to review and suggest the entire status of Nepal-India ties on the changed domestic, regional and global contexts.

Published: 10-01-2018 08:16

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