‘3-pt roadmap only viable solution’

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Dec 24, 2015-

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Kamal Thapa has said that the three-point ‘political roadmap’ presented by the government to the agitating Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha was a viable solution towards ending the present political crisis. 

“This is the only viable framework to resolve the crisis,” he said on Wednesday, before leading a delegation to China on a week-long visit. He is accompanied by Law Minister Agni Kharel and several government officials, including the foreign, finance and commerce secretaries.

The Morcha on Tuesday had, however, termed the government’s ‘political roadmap’ as vague and failed to acknowledge it. The roadmap includes formation of a political committee to address the federalism row, amendment in constitution for inclusive proportional representation of the various ethnic communities in state organs, redrawing of electoral constituencies on the basis of population and the issue of naturalised citizenship.

India on Monday had welcomed the government’s initiative. The southern bloc has been pushing the government to reach out to the agitating forces to seek an amicable solution through the ‘roadmap’. “This initiative is an important step to address the grievances of the agitating parties. If there were other issues left, we can discuss them later,” he said. 

Thapa claimed that the ‘political roadmap’ also had the consensus of the main opposition Nepali Congress and prepared on the basis of the 11-point demand forwarded by the Morcha. 

According to Thapa, his China visit is focused on seeking viable options for importing petroleum products from the country, officially signing on the Chinese aid to Nepal of over Rs14 billion (900 million yuan), seeking trade diversification and transit facilitation, among others.

Before leaving, Thapa told reporters that his visit was a ‘regular one’ and aims at strengthening diplomatic ties with China at the political level. “On the basis of free trade agreement, the two nations will seek appropriate mechanism for transit facilities,” said Thapa.

Nepal has forwarded a proposal of trade and transit pact. However, even though the Chinese side is positive on the deal, sources say it is unlikely that two sides will finalise anything during the visit. According to officials, the Nepali side is reluctant to sign a deal with China due to the high price of fuel and the various kinds of taxes 

it imposes.

Published: 24-12-2015 09:13

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