India wants stability, progress in Nepal, says Rao

Shirish B Pradhan

Kathmandu, Jan 19 (PTI) India today said it wantspeace, stability and progress to prevail in Nepal, underliningthe need for all political parties to set aside differencesand come together to resolve the stalemate.

With a political deadlock stalling Nepal''s peaceprocess, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao held consultationswith top leaders of major political parties in the country,including Nepali Congress president Shushil Koirala and formerprime minister Sher Bahadur Deuba.

During her meetings with the leaders, Rao enquiredabout the state of the peace process following the exit of theUNited Nations mission and about matters relating to armyintegration and drafting of the constitution, Nepali Congresssources said.

Deuba told Rao that with the exit of UNMIN a specialcommittee comprising representatives of the major politicalparties will take over the responsibility of taking forwardthe peace process and promulgating the constitution within thestipulated timeframe of May end, NC leader Bimalendra Nidhi,who was also present during the meeting, said.

He said that pressure is being exerted on the Maoiststo expedite the integration and rehabilitation of the Maoistcombatants after the UNMIN''s departure.

After the meeting, NC president Koirala toldjournalists that Foreign Secretary Rao said that India wantsto see peace, stability and progress in Nepal.

"She (Rao) also stressed that all the politicalparties should come together to resolve the current politicalstalemate," Koirala said.

Rao is expected to meet Maoist chairman Prachanda andCPN-UML president Jhala Nath Khanal in the evening.

She is also expected to meet Deputy Prime Minister andForeign Minister Sujata Koirala before wrapping up the threeday visit tomorrow.

Rao had yesterday met President Ram Baran Yadav, PrimeMinister Madhav Kumar Nepal, and Parliament speaker SubhashNemwang on the first day of her official visit.

During her meeting with Prime Minister Nepal, Rao hadconveyed India''s strong support to a satisfactory culminationof the peace process and strengthening of multi partydemocracy in Nepal.

Nepal is locked in a political crisis for over a yearand its peace process is in tatters as it struggles to getover political and ideological differences between majorparties who were elected to the Constituent Assembly in 2008in the landmark elections that marked the country''s transitionfrom a monarchy to a parliamentary republic.

The Constituent Assembly that was tasked with draftinga constitution has failed to make any progress and the peaceprocess remains stalled.

Nepal has also failed to elect a new prime ministerfollowing the resignation of Nepal, with 16 rounds ofinconclusive polls in the parliament, further hampering thepeace process.

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