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Swaraj calls for early drafting of Nepal's Constitution

Kathmandu, June 25, 2015, (PTI) 15:37 IST
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. PTI File Photo
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj today met the entire spectrum of Nepalese leadership and encouraged them to finalise the long-pending drafting of the Constitution at the earliest to take the country on a new path of development.

Swaraj met a host of Nepalese leaders, including four former Prime Ministers, at a luncheon meeting hosted by India's Ambassador to Nepal Ranjit Rae.

She encouraged the leaders, including former premiers -- Prachanda, Sher Bahadur Deuba, Madhav Kumar Nepal and Baburam Bhattarai, to finalise the Constitution as soon as possible to take the country on a new path of development.

"EAM @SushmaSwaraj engages all major political parties of Nepal. Encourages early finalisation of Constitution," External Affairs Ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup tweeted along with a picture of the meeting.

In the luncheon meeting, Swaraj conveyed to the leaders that India was firmly behind Nepal in its reconstruction efforts and would extend all support for its development as the country moves towards normalcy after being ravaged by quakes.

Leaders from all four main Nepalese parties -- Nepali Congress (NC), CPN-UML, UCPN (Maoist) and Madhesi People's Rights Forum-Democratic (MPRF-D) -- attended the luncheon meeting.

Important leaders who were present in the meeting included Narayan Khadka of the Nepali Congress, Vidya Bhandari of the UCPN (Maoist) and Vijay Kumar Gachadar (Madhesi leader).

The Constitution will pave the way for all-round development of the country, Swaraj was quoted as saying by a leader who attended the meeting.

Nepal's warring political parties earlier this month struck a landmark 16-point deal to end years of deadlock over contentious issues of Constitution-drafting, agreeing to a parliamentary system and eight provinces.

Top leaders of the Nepali Congress (NC), CPN-UML, UCPN (Maoist) and MPRF-D agreed to adopt an 8-province federal model, parliamentary system of governance, mixed electoral model and include the provision of a constitutional court for 10 years in the new statute as part of a compromise deal.

The Constitution drafting process has proved to be a cumbersome work for Nepal's ruling and opposition parties. For the last eight years, they have vigorously argued over their differences.

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