Nepal urged to end adoption deadlock

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KATHMANDU, Nov 8 (Reuters) Several European governments are pressing Nepal to quickly end the uncertainty over adoption of Nepali children by hundreds of foreign families whose plans have been blocked since March this year.

The Himalayan nation suspended adoption of Nepali children this year by foreign families amid criticism that the practice involved corruption and some children were being sold.

The move blocked adoption plans by 340 families from France, Italy and Spain who had applied to adopt Nepali children.

French Ambassador Gilles Henry Garault met Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala yesterday and handed separate letters from the governments of France, Italy and Spain, drawing his attention to the ''difficult and dramatic'' situation of these families, a French embassy statement said today.

''The three European heads of government have wished for humanitarian reasons that a prompt solution be found in order that the families ... could have their applications finalised as soon as possible,'' it said.

Punnya Prasad Neupane, a top official in the Nepali Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare, said Nepal was trying to prepare new laws in line with international conventions on adoption.

''This has been delayed due to ongoing political instability,'' Neupane said.

Nepal is in the midst of fresh political turmoil after former Maoist rebels quit the government and forced indefinite postponement of the constituent assembly elections. The Maoists are demanding the immediate abolition of the monarchy.

Officials say hundreds of children from Nepal, one of the world's poorest countries, have been adopted by foreign families in recent years.

Reuters MS VP0100

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