EPG defers June 1-3 meeting

- Post Report, Kathmandu

May 26, 2018-The ninth meeting of Eminent Persons Group on Nepal-India relations, which was scheduled to take place in Kathmandu on June 1-3, has been postponed until further notice.

The meet was expected to set the tone for a joint EPG report and to work on the final report before the group’s tenure ends on July 4.

“At the request of the Indian side, the meeting has been postponed and we are exploring a convenient date,” said Bhekh Bhadaur Thapa, coordinator of the Nepali

side of the EPG.

The Indian side has not given the reason for postponement of the meeting at a time when both the sides were making final preparations to arrive at consensus on all the issues the EPG is mandated to discuss and provide suggestions on.

Nepali members said the Indian side has proposed holding the meeting in June-end. They have pressed for an earlier meet so that there will be enough time to resolve disputes while writing the final report.

“If some of the thorny issues are settled ahead of the secluded ninth meeting, it will be the last one,” said Thapa. “We have already set our positions after discussion with the stakeholders and forwarded them to the Indian side. As soon as they agree, we will find a common position,” said Thapa.

The EPG is tasked with providing suggestions after reviewing all the past accords and treaties including the 1950 Treaty of Peace and Friendship between the two countries.

“We are in touch with each other and our lines of communication are open,” said Thapa. “We’re also awaiting response from the Indian EPG members on our proposals.”

The panel has got until July 5 to submit one joint report to both the governments suggesting the future course of bilateral relations concerning water resources, trade and commerce, transit, people-to-people relations and border management, among others.

Meanwhile, two members of the group--Rajan Bhattarai from Nepal and Mahendra P Lama from India, are visiting Kolkata and Vishakhapatnam ports of India that Nepal uses to import goods from third countries, to see the comparative advantage of these two trading points.

Published: 26-05-2018 06:48

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