Govt invites Morcha for talks

  • Asks agitating Tarai parties to join DPM Thapa-led dialogue committee
- Post Report, Kathmandu

May 9, 2016-

After a lull of nearly three months, the government on Sunday made a fresh call to the agitating Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha (SLMM) to return to the negotiating table.

Deputy Prime Minister Kamal Thapa, who leads the dialogue committee, sent a formal invitation to the Morcha for talks. 

The date for a meeting would be decided in consultation with the interlocutors of the participating parties.

The government and the Madhes-based parties have not held talks since February 18, the day the Thapa-led political mechanism was formed. The committee is yet to take shape after the Madhesi parties and the Nepali Congress, the largest party in Parliament, refused to send their representatives to it.

In the letter, Thapa has said that the government was committed to addressing the concerns of the agitating parties through dialogue.

 

He stated that there is no alternative to resolving the outstanding differences through discussion so that the country could embark on its journey of peace, prosperity and development.

Thapa also urged the Madhesi parties to send their representatives to the panel tasked with working out the details for redrawing the boundaries of the provinces.

The regional parties, however, are in no mood to readily accept the call for dialogue. They charge that the government is not serious about resolving the crisis. 

Talking to the Post on Saturday, Sanghiya Samajbadi Forum Nepal Chairman Upendra Yadav said the government must clarify first why the earlier talks failed despite 36 rounds of closed door negotiations.

Madhesi leaders said that they were not optimistic about a positive outcome of the talks due to the “rigid” position taken by the government on crucial issues including the revision to federal boundaries, their main demand.

“I don’t think Prime Minister Oli and his collogues in the government will be ready to compromise on state boundaries as the support for the Madhes movement appears to be waning both at home and abroad. 

And it would be meaningless to sit for talks as long as the government refuses to compromise on issues of federal boundaries,” said an SSFN leader.

Although both the major parties and the Madhesi forces have agreed to resolve the row over boundaries through the political mechanism, there are differences over the terms of reference of the political body.

Madhes-based parties have demanded prior assurance of at least two provinces in the plains and statutory status to the political mechanism. However, the government has declined both the preconditions to dialogue.

Madhesi leaders say they are not much hopeful about a positive outcome due to the government’s ‘rigid’ position

Published: 09-05-2016 08:05

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