US urges on India, Bhutan to resolve refugee problem

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Kathmandu, Nov 3: America would put pressure on India and Bhutan to resolve the Bhutanese refugee problem, visiting US Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees and Migration Ellen Sauerbrey said.

The US official said the resettlement of the refugees in a third country is the first phase of the long-term solution to the refugee problem.

''The US government would start the process from the coming week,'' Kantipur quoted her as saying.

She admitted that India's role for the repatriation of the Bhutanese refugee would be crucial and said she would try to convince New Delhi in this regard, Kantipur reported.

A team of the secretaries and the vice secretaries of the refugee camp at Beldangi, Jhapa had urged her during a meeting held here today to put pressure on the Indian government to make way for the repatriation of the refugees to Bhutan.

Besides, as an alternative, the refugees have kept open their resettlement in Nepal or any third country, the memorandum stated.

The US senior official arrived here yesterday on a two-day visit as part of the US initiative to resettle 60,000 Bhutanese refugees in America.

Ms Sauerbrey is also scheduled to call on Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala today after she returns from Jhapa.

However, Bhutanese leaders have urged the US to mediate the talks between Nepal, Bhutan and India for the refugee repatriation before moving ahead with its plan for a third-country resettlement.


UNI

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