Jaishankar suggests statute in consensus

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KATHMANDU, APR 04 – Visiting Indian Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar has stressed broader consensus among the key stakeholders of the peace process in Nepal for drafting the new constitution.

In a meeting with Madhesi leaders on Friday, he urged the leaders to reach a minimum understanding on the statute drafting process, said Madhesi Janadhikar Forum (Loktantrik) General Secret-ary Jitendra Dev.

Jaishankar, who arrived in Kathmandu on Thursday on a familiarisation trip after becoming the foreign secretary of India two months ago, made the remarks during a “luncheon meeting” with the leaders of the Madhesi parties.

Dev, who attended the meeting, told the Post that the Indian diplomat also said federalism is an issue for Nepal’s political leaders to decide.

Jaishankar did not enter into the details of the federalism debate such as the number of provinces, but said the key dispute of statute writing—an internal affair of Nepal—should be sorted by Nepal’s political actors.

In his meeting with Jaishankar, CPN-UML Chairman KP Oli said the issues agreed by the parties so far would be moved ahead while other contentious issues would be discussed gradually.

Oli said the parties were discussing several alternatives to reach consensus and the process of drafting the new constitution would not stop. Before wrapping up his two-day visit, the Indian secretary paid a courtesy call on President Ram Baran Yadav and Prime Minister Sushil Koirala.

During the meetings, matters related to bilateral relations, mutual benefit and Nepal’s current political developments were discussed.