Swaraj enquires about progress

  • In Geneva, Indian mission calls for ‘definite timeframe’
- ROSHAN SEDHAI, Kathmandu
India, during the UPR session in Geneva, said it hopes that remaining issues will be addressed in a constructive spirit

Mar 18, 2016-Visiting Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj has enquired about the progress made on addressing the demands of the agitating Madhes-based parties. Swaraj showed interest over the progress made by the high-level political mechanism, which was formed in February, to resolve the row over federal boundaries. 

Swaraj on Wednesday discussed the Madhes issue during her separate meetings with PM Oli and Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Kamal Thapa in Pokhara on the sidelines of Saarc Conference of Ministers.

PM Oli’s Chief Political Adviser Bishnu Rimal refused to divulge the details of the meeting, saying it was a “one-on-one meeting”. 

“All I can say is that bilateral concerns were discussed during the meeting,” said Rimal. Sources said both PM Oli and DPM and Foreign Minister Thapa told Swaraj that the government would give full shape to the mechanism at the earliest by taking the disgruntled Madhesi parties into confidence. 

In a bid to address the concerns raised by the Madhes-based parties, Parliament on January 23 had voted to amend the constitution, bringing in major changes in the electoral laws and provision pertaining to proportional and inclusive representation of all communities in the state bodies. 

Days before his visit to India, PM Oli had told the House that the political mechanism would be formed before he embarked on the visit to southern neighbour. As a result, the mechanism was hastily formed on February 18, a day before PM Oli left for India. But the Madhes-based parties have rejected the mechanism. 

 Reports of Swaraj’s concern over the political mechanism coincide with Indian statement on Nepal during Universal Periodic Review of Human Rights (UPR) session in Geneva on Wednesday, where New Delhi called for a “defined timeframe” to settle remaining issues. “We regard the two constitutional amendments passed by the Nepali Parliament in January 2016 as positive developments. We hope that other remaining issues will be similarly addressed in a constructive spirit in a defined timeframe,” read the statement. 

Published: 18-03-2016 08:09

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