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Manmohan receives Koirala at airport

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, June 6 (UNI) Nepalese Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala arrived here today on a four-day official visit, his first foreign tour after taking charge following the return of Parliamentary democracy in Nepal.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, as a special gesture, went to the airport to receive Mr Koirala, who is leading a 41-member delegation.

Mr Koirala will hold delegation-level talks with Dr Singh tomorrow.

He will also call on President A P J Abdul Kalam and Vice-President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat tomorrow.

He will also meet Home Minister Shivraj Patil, Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Leader of the Opposition L K Advani and former Prime Minister Chandra Sekhar.

During his visit, Mr Koirala is expected to seek Indian assistance to revive his country's economy, in tatters due to 10-year-old Maoist insurgency and political instability.

India is a main donor of Nepal, providing military and economic assistance, and the two countries are expected to sign a major aid agreement, according to reports from Kathmandu.

He is expected to thank Indian leaders for their support during the recent protests against King Gyanendra's ''absolute rule'', and discuss India's possible role in the peace process in Nepal to end the Maoist insurgency, reports said.

Mr Koirala is accompanied by Minister for Physical Planning and Construction Gopal Man Shrestha, Minister for Agriculture and Cooperatives Mahanta Thakur, Minister for Finance Dr Ram Sharan Mahat, Minister for Local Development Rajendra Prasad Pandey and Minister of State for Women, Children and Social Welfare Urmila Aryal.

UNI YJ RR GC1950

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