Feltman feels all sides should be flexible

Kathmandu, January 8

United Nations Under-Secretary General for Political Affairs Jeffery D Feltman, who is in Nepal on a three-day visit, today commended the efforts being made to resolve the Tarai crisis and urged all sides to show more flexibility to achieve a peaceful solution.

During his meetings with Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and other political leaders, the UN political chief said the agitating Madhesis should be brought on board by addressing their concerns by amending the constitution.

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Feltman asked PM Oli about his views on the ongoing dialogue and efforts being made by the government, as well as the major political parties, to address the concerns of the agitating Madhesi parties about some constitutional provisions.

Prime Minister Oli told him that efforts were being made to address the genuine demands of Madhesis, Tharus, Janajatis and Muslims.

“Situation is gradually improving. Talks are going on,” PM’s foreign affairs expert Gopal Khanal, who was present during the meeting, quoted PM Oli as telling Feltman.

The UN official appreciated the process of amending the constitution and the major parties’ commitment to sort out the constituency delineation issue within three months to assuage the Madhesi forces and assured the UN’s full support in the implementation of the new constitution.

PM Oli told Feltman that he was grateful to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who had expressed deep concern about the growing humanitarian crisis in Nepal following the shortage of fuel and medicine due to the blockade at Nepal-India border entry points. He also thanked Ban Ki-moon for highlighting Nepal’s right to hassle-free transit of good through transit countries.

According to Khanal, the prime minister sought the UN’s ‘further support’ to ease the blockade.

The prime minister also apprised Feltman of the salient features of the new constitution, including inclusiveness, and told him that the constitution was adopted with the support of over 86 per cent of the Constituent Assembly members.

Feltman, who landed in Kathmandu on Thursday, also called on President Bidhya Devi Bhandari and met Deputy PM and Minister for Physical Infrastructure and Transport Bijaya Kumar Gachhadar and Foreign Secretary Shankar Das Bairagi.

He also met UCPN-M’s international department chief Narayan Kaji Shrestha and interacted with the leaders of the United Democratic Madhesi Front. He will meet former prime minister and Nepali Congress President Sushil Koirala tomorrow.

According to a statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Feltman assured the President of the support of the United Nations for the implementation of the constitution.