Foreign Secretary Jaishankar meets senior Nepali leaders

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Kathmandu, Sep 18: Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar on Friday met senior leaders of Nepal including CPN-UML chairman K P Sharma Oli here and discussed the latest political situation in the country amid protests by Madhesi groups over the country's new Constitution which will be unveiled on Sunday.

Jaishankar, who arrived here today on a two-day visit as a special envoy of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, discussed with Oli the ongoing drafting process of the statute and the latest political situation in the country, especially the agitation being launched by the Madhesi parties in southern Nepal over the issue of federating the country, according to CPN-UML sources.

S Jaishankar

During the talk, Oli informed the visiting Foreign Secretary about the progress made by Nepal in drafting the new constitution and he assured that the issues raised by the Madhesi communities of southern Nepal will also be addressed in the new constitution in an attempt to bring the disgruntled parties in the political mainstream, sources said.

Nepal's Constituent Assembly has already finalised the final draft of the new Constitution and President Ram Baran Yadav will promulgate the statute on Sunday during a special function.

The Foreign Secretary's visit to Nepal at a time when preparations to promulgate the new constitution has reached its final stage, is regarded here as "significant".

Jaishankar will call on President Yadav and Prime Minister Sushil Koirala and meet UCPN-Maoist chief Prachanda as well as senior leaders of the Madhes-based political parties, who are launching agitation over the issue of adopting a federal model in the new constitution.

The Foreign Secretary will return to Delhi tomorrow wrapping up his visit. During his meeting with Nepalese leaders, Jaishankar is also learnt to have expressed India's concern over the escalating violence in the southern Nepal bordering Indian states over the issue of federal structure.

More details of his meeting with other senior leaders across political spectrum were not immediately available.

In a statement, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has welcomed the ongoing constitution-drafting process in Nepal and urged political parties in Nepal to display flexibility so as to address any outstanding issues through dialogue and widespread possible agreement in an atmosphere free from violence.

A Constitution, which is fully-owned by and accommodates the aspirations of all regions and sections of the Nepalese society, will lay a durable foundation for a peaceful and prosperous Nepal, observed the Foreign Minister in her statement.

PTI

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