Kathmandu, December 20:

Leaders of major political parties today called for a high-level meeting of eight political parties to settle differences that surfaced after the government’s decision to appoint ambassadors to 13 countries and Geneva-based UN mission.

Addressing a programme at the Reporters’ Club, CPN-UML standing committee member Jhala Nath Khanal termed the government decision to appoint ambassadors an “immature one” that would spoil the environment of consensus and understanding developed since the signing of the 12-point pact.

The government should have appointed its envoys to the major countries shortly after the formation of the government in April, he said. It is an “irresponsible move” on the part of the government to appoint the ambassadors at a time when interim government with Maoists is in the offing, he said.

“I ask the PM to reconsider the decision and hold a high-level meeting of the eight parties to defuse tension,” Khanal said, adding that the process of appointing ambassadors was “objectionable”. He said his party was not consulted before taking the decision.

Stressing the need to develop a ‘coalition culture’, NC leader Arjun Narsingh KC said the government and the Maoist leadership should hold talks immediately to sort out their differences over the appointment of envoys. He said the government had just proposed to appoint the ambassadors and a parliamentary committee was yet to conduct a hearing on the appointees. “As far as I have heard, the Maoists were consulted before the appointments were made,” KC said.

He also asked the Maoist leadership to allow the government to re-establish the vacated police posts and VDC secretaries to work in their respective fields. “If the police are barred from establishing their posts and the VDC secretaries are barred from carrying out their duties, how can we hold constituent assembly elections on time?” he questioned.

General secretary of the Nepali Congress (Democratic) Bimalendra Nidhi said his party was not consulted before appointing the ambassadors. He, however, said it was not necessary to consult the Maoists about the appointment of ambassadors, as it was purely the job of the government. “But the PM should have consulted the leaders of the seven-party alliance before taking the decision,” Nidhi said.

Minister of State for Labour and Transport Management and government talks team member Ramesh Lekhak said, “If demonstrations are held over minor issues, our attention will get diverted and we will not be able to hold CA polls on time.” He hoped that the differences would be sorted out through talks.